Statewide Significance

Shoreline Areas of Snohomish County

The shoreline areas below are designated as shorelines of statewide significance:

  • Lakes
    • Lake Stevens
  • Rivers
    • Sauk River
    • Stillaguamish River (including North and South Forks)
    • Snohomish River
    • Skykomish River (including North Fork)
    • Snoqualmie River
  • Marine Shorelines
    • Skagit Bay
    • Stillaguamish River Estuary
    • Snohomish River Estuary
    • Puget Sound (excluding tidelands)
    • Possession Sound (excluding tidelands)
    • Port Gardner (excluding tidelands)
    • Port Susan (excluding tidelands)

Management Principles & Development Guidelines

The Shoreline Management Act of 1971 designated certain shoreline areas as shorelines of statewide significance. Shorelines thus designated are important to the entire state. Because these shorelines are major resources from which all people in the state derive benefit, Snohomish County's Master Program must give preference to uses which favor public and long-range goals.

Accordingly, the act has established that Snohomish County's Master Program shall give preference to uses which meet the principles outlined below in order of preference. Guidelines for ensuring that these principles are incorporated into the Master Program and adhered to in implementing the act follow each principle.

  1. Recognize and Protect the Stateside Interest Over Local Interest Development Guidelines:
    1. Solicit comments and opinions from groups and individuals representing statewide interests by circulating the Master Program, Master Program amendments and requests for substantial development permits on shorelines of statewide significance to state agencies, adjacent jurisdictions, citizen's advisory committees and local officials, and statewide interest groups.
    2. Recognize and take into account state agencies' policies, programs, and recommendations in developing and administering use regulations.
    3. Solicit comments, opinions, and advice from individuals with expertise in ecology, oceanography, geology, limnology, aquaculture, and other scientific fields pertinent to shoreline management.
  2. Preserve the Natural Character of the Shoreline - Development Guidelines:
    1. Designate and administer shoreline planning environments and use regulations to minimize man-made intrusions on shorelines.
    2. Upgrade and redevelop those areas where intensive development already exists, in order to reduce their adverse impact on the environment and to accommodate future growth rather than allowing high intensity uses to extend into low intensity use or underdeveloped areas.
    3. Ensure that where commercial timber cutting is allowed, as provided in RCW 90.58.150, reforestation will be possible and accomplished as soon as practicable.
  3. Result in Long-Term Over Short-Term Benefit - Development Guidelines:
    1. Preserve the shorelines for future generations. For example, actions that would convert resources into irreversible uses or detrimentally alter natural conditions characteristic of shorelines of statewide significance, should be severely limited.
    2. Evaluate the short-term economic gain or convenience of developments in relationship to long-term and potentially costly impairments to the natural environment.
    3. Actively promote aesthetic considerations when contemplating new development, redevelopment of existing facilities, or for the general enhancement of shoreline areas.
  4. Protect the Resources and Ecology of the Shorelines - Development Guidelines:
    1. Leave undeveloped those areas which contain a unique or fragile resource.
    2. Prevent erosion and sedimentation that would alter the natural function of the water system. In areas where erosion and sediment control practices will not be effective, excavations or other activities which increase erosion are to be severely limited.
    3. Restrict or prohibit public access onto areas which cannot be maintained in a natural condition under human uses.
  5. Increase Public Access to Publicly Owned Areas of the Shorelines - Development Guidelines:
    1. Give priority to developing paths and trails to shoreline areas, linear access along the shorelines, and to developing upland parking.
    2. Locate development inland from the ordinary high water mark so that access is enhanced.
  6. Increase recreational opportunities for the public on the Shorelines Development Guidelines:
    1. Plan for and encourage development of facilities for recreational use of the shorelines.
    2. Reserve areas for lodging and related facilities on uplands well away from the shorelines with provisions for non-motorized access to the shorelines.