People have always been drawn to the water’s edge.
Hurricane Sandy’s devastation is a heartbreaking reminder that living near a lake, stream, river or Washington’s marine waters can come at the extreme cost of life and property. Knowing where erosion and high water may happen – and placing homes, roads, and businesses out of harm’s way – is the first step in avoiding costly losses.
Shoreline master programs help protect homes, structures
In Washington, most cities and counties have shoreline master programs that manage new uses and activities in hazard areas like floodplains, steep slopes, and landslide zones.
buffers, setbacks and minimum lot sizes tailored to local conditions, which help place development a safe distance from the water’s edge.
A buffer that seems large in calm weather can disappear quickly in a winter storm or flood.
Being prepared for natural disasters like floods is wise and residents should prepare. Reducing the overall risk through land use planning is even wiser.
Choose carefully when buying or building a shoreline home or business
These tips can help:
Consider soft armoring for existing homes or businesses at risk
This information can prove invaluable:
- Contact a qualified geo-engineer to determine whether hazards exist on your property.
- If you own a farm or agricultural property, contact your local conservation district to get technical advice and possible funding to fix erosion problems.
For more information
- Shoreline Master Programs – Frequently Asked Questions
- Coastal hazards
- Puget Sound landslides
- Washington’s Coastal Atlas – flood hazard maps and flood risks
- Sea Level Rise and Coastal Hazards: Preparing Washington for a Changing Climate
- Glossary of shoreline ecology and planning terms – King County
- San Juan Shoreline Living – Setbacks