Shoreline Management Program

Purpose
The Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program (SMP), WCC Title 23, is the document that implements the goals and policies of the Shoreline Management Act (SMA) at the local level. It was adopted in 1976 in accordance with RCW 90.58. The goals and policies of the Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program also constitute the shoreline component of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan.

The Whatcom County SMP works with other chapters of the Whatcom County Code to protect and preserve saltwater and freshwater shorelines throughout the county by managing natural resources and directing development and land use suitable for the shoreline environment.

Jurisdictions

The Whatcom County Shoreline Management Program jurisdiction includes:
  • More than 130 miles of marine shoreline
  • More than 60 miles of lake shoreline
  • More than 220 miles of stream channels
  • All wetlands and floodways associated with the above shorelines, together with all upland areas within 200 feet of the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM)
Program Enforcement
Whatcom County Planning and Development Services (PDS) and the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) share joint authority and responsibility of the Whatcom County SMP. Whatcom County PDS is the primary agency responsible for implementation of the Whatcom County SMP.

The Washington State DOE is responsible for supervising the administration of the code, ensuring proper implementation, and assuring consistency with the SMA. Because the Whatcom County master program is approved and adopted by the Washington State DOE, it has the authority of state law.