Shoreline Reports and Permitting

Are you building in a Puget Sound shoreline? We can help.

Our biologists and environmental planner have facilitated hundreds of new homes in Olympic Peninsula, Kitsap Peninsula and Island County.

Our team has worked within county and municipal shoreline master programs for a decade, and have assisted in review and revision of those policies. This gives us a deep understanding of the complex nature of shoreline permitting and it's biological requirements.

Our shoreline biologists are prepared to work in a variety of locations in the Olympic Peninsula, Kitsap Peninsula and Island County. We will work to understand your property’s specific regulatory requirements. Our goal is to understand the needs of your specific property and jurisdiction and facilitate a quick permit approval through accurate biological assessments.

Our shoreline services include Ordinary High Water Mark delineations, no net loss reports, habitat management plans, critical area maps and land planning. These services are generally required across Washington’s Shorelines of the State.

We serve and are well versed in the shoreline codes of the following counties and Cities:

  • City of Bainbridge Island
  • City of Poulsbo
  • City of Port Townsend
  • City of Port Orchard
  • City of Port Townsend
  • City of Sequim
  • City of Bremerton
  • Clallam County
  • Jefferson County
  • Kitsap County
  • Island County
  • Mason County

Our Shoreline Biologist Services Include 

  • Site Specific Impact Analysis (For Bainbridge Island)
  • Biological Site Assessment (for Island County)
  • Environmental Site Assessment (for Port Angeles)
  • Critical area mapping

Call today, or fill out the form below to start your project

wildlife consulting

Shoreline Management Act (SMA)

The Shoreline Management Act was ratified by Washington voters in 1972, in order to protect and preserve our shared shoreline ecosystems for future generations. Shorelines in the SMA are defined as marine shorelines (saltwater), rivers with flow greater than 20 cubic feet per second, lakes larger than  20 acres, upland areas within 200 feet of these water bodies, and the floodplains and wetlands associated with these shorelines.

Generally, the shoreline itself is defined by the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM). From there, the SMA has authority over 200 feet inland from that OHWM. Most jurisdictions don’t manage the full 200 feet from the OHWM, but rather have a shoreline setback of 30-150 feet inland. Those areas are more heavily regulated than the entire 200 foot shoreline jurisdiction.

Shoreline Master Program (SMP)

Shoreline Master Programs are developed by cities and counties to adopt and implement the SMA. Local master programs include policies and regulations designed to achieve no net loss of those protected ecological functions. These programs include regulations and mitigation standards ensuring that each permitted development will not cause a net loss of ecological functions of the shoreline. This mitigation is important for shoreline owners. The general premise is the shoreline cannot be degraded further by your development or your type of development, either now or in the future through accumulation.

When proposing certain changes to your shoreline home, it’s important to realize you will likely be required to mitigate for your impacts. Mitigation can include replanting, noxious weed removal, debris removal, beach nourishment, signs and fences and buffer modifications.

shoreline biologist

Why are shorelines protected?

Shorelines provide many crucial functions and services to our community. Shorelines are shared ecosystems benefited by many people, not just those who own property on the shoreline. Many aspects of Washington’s general population benefit form shoreline ecology and it’s health. The shoreline is critical to the health and food sources of salmon and orca. Food for orca literally begin the food web living on the washed up carcasses, seaweed, shells, and wood laying on the beach. Shorelines also provide critical habitat for many endangered and priority species.

Washington Shorelines are a complex and diverse ecosystem that can be found on both marine and freshwater shorelines of lakes, rivers and oceans. The common characteristics are that they support a unique set of conditions and provide important functions to the environment and society. Historically, shorelines have experienced heavy losses, primarily due to the installation of bulkheads near cities that limit the accessible beach, habitat and filtering abilities of buffers.