NGPA/CAPA Management Plan

A Management Plan will help guide you and your community through the process of restoring the health and function of your Native Growth Protection Area (NGPA) or Critical Area Protection Area (CAPA). The plan outlines the goal(s) of your project, steps to be taken to reach these goals and measurable outcomes to expect. Keep in mind you may have to adapt your Management Plan to changing site conditions or unforeseen issues. Here are the simple steps for developing your plan:

Step 1 - 

Gather Information About Your NGPA/CAPA 

Identify NGPA/CAPA restrictions, owners, boundaries and other critical information. Every NGPA/CAPA is different. Get started using the "Quick Links" in the sidebar. If your plat has one, consult the HOA, if your plat has one, for information and management guidelines regarding the NGPA/CAPA.
  • Find your plat map
    • Locate all NGPAs/CAPAs
    • Find the list of restrictions and responsibilities related to your NGPA/CAPA
  • Create a landscape features map using Snohomish County’s PDS Map Portal
  • Familiarize yourself with native and invasive plants within your NGPA/CAPA. Your Watershed Steward can assist you in their identification during a site visit.

Step 2

Identify and Document Current Conditions

Find any symptoms of an unhealthy NGPA/CAPA. Walk through your NGPA/CAPA and take notes on what you see. Examples of what to look for include::
  • Native plants and their condition
  • Invasive plants (add these to your map)
  • Evidence of diseased or dying vegetation or unauthorized removal of native vegetation
  • Illegal dumping of trash and yard waste
  • Encroachment of yards on the NGPA/CAPA boundaries
  • Human uses such as trails, bird watching or wildlife viewing activities, homeless encampments, etc. Note which are desirable and which need to be managed.

Step 3 - Gather Support From Your Community

The long-term success of implementing a NGPA/CAPA Management Plan hinges on effectively engaging your community in the shared stewardship of this natural area. Start with those living near the NGPA/CAPA. Include observations of long-term and recent residents who offer different perspectives on past conditions and future goals. Ask neighbors what concerns they have related to the NGPA/CAPA.
  • Recruit support from your neighbors by organizing a neighborhood meeting so you can start developing a management plan for your NGPA/CAPA.
  • Share the information you have collected in Steps 1 & 2 with your neighbors to help them understand why you need their support and involvement.
  • Create a contact list of people who are interested in helping. Send updates and scheduled events to them regularly.
  • Organize a working group of interested neighbors to develop and implement a management plan.
Additionally, you can schedule a site visit with your Watershed Steward. During the visit you can ask questions and discuss possible solutions to the symptoms you observed in Step 2. The Watershed Steward can examine the problem areas and support the development of a management plan tailored to address the issues within your NGPA/CAPA.

Step 4 - Develop Your Management Plan

Have the working group draft and identify a mission statement, goals and a management plan.
  • Agree on an overall mission statement that incorporates everyone’s interests. This will maintain focus, guide goal development, and help to prioritize efforts.
  • Set both short and long term goals that will be the result of your cumulative efforts over the next few years. Your goals should be general enough to include a number of individual objectives for each. Examples of goals include:
    • Improve health of natural area and promote clean water
    • Encourage wildlife habitat 
    • Reduce encroachment on the NGPA/CAPA perimeter
    • Coordinate an annual Earth Day work party
Once your groups has agreed on goals, begin to develop the NGPA/CAPA Management Pan. The NGPA/CAPA Management Plan should address each goal with specific objectives for each, outlining steps you will need to take to accomplish those goals. With your group, prepare a draft plan. Your Watershed Steward will review the draft and assist you with completion.

The final NGPA/CAPA Management Plan needs to be endorsed by your Snohomish County Watershed Steward to ensure compliance with Snohomish County Critical Area Regulations. Don’t start implementing the plan until approval has been issued.

View example NGPA/CAPA Management Plan (PDF)

Step 5  - Implement the Plan

Once your Management Plan is approved, the working group can implement the plan. Develop a timeline for each step, set a deadline for completion, and assign tasks. For example, if your management plan outlines steps to control an invasive weed, determine when each step will be implemented and then organize the necessary tools and people.