Washington Wetlands regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Washington Wetlands: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Shoreline Management Act of 1971, Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 90.58.010 to 90.58.920

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State Environmental Policy Act, RCW 43.21C.010 to 43.21C.914

Identifying wetlands: Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 173-22-035

Shoreline management: WAC 173-27-010 to 173-27-990

Shoreline permits: WAC 173-27-180

Variances: WAC 173-27-170

Permit exemptions: WAC 173-27-040

Wetland mitigation banks: WAC 173-700-100 to 173-700-800

Hydraulic projects: RCW 77.55.100

Coastal zone management: WAC 173-26-360

Regulatory Agencies

Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE) Water Quality Program

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW)

Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forest Practices Division

Local regulatory authorities

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Seattle District Office Walla Walla District Office Portland District Office

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 10

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. Washington has developed many laws and regulations pertaining to wetlands in addition to the state's certification program for wetlands activities under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act. See the national section WETLANDS for a review of the federal wetlands regulatory scheme.

Washington protects its shoreline wetlands under the Shoreline Management Act (SMA) of 1971. Under the SMA, the state defines "wetlands" as areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in ...


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