Wednesday, February 22, 2017

New Management Program for Lewis County shorelines need public input

County residents have until March 16 to weigh in

With more than 1,100 miles of river shoreline, Lewis County's new Management Program will affect
residents throughout the county. 
If you appreciate shoreline ecology, you’ll like the waters of Lewis County. The county boasts more than 1,100 miles of shoreline, including the Nisqually, Chehalis, Deschutes and Cowlitz rivers, numerous tributaries and 34 lakes.
Restoration of the Upper Chehalis River is a priority under the new Lewis
County Shoreline Management Program.

That’s a lot of water front property.

Lewis County has proposed changes to how it manages the edges of those waterbodies and the Department of Ecology is asking the public to weigh in on those plans. Ecology will compare the county’s proposed program to the requirements of the Shoreline Management Act and the Shoreline Master Program Guidelines. Based on the comparison and the comments the plan receives, Ecology will decide whether to approve the program or ask for changes.

Lewis County’s first Shoreline Master Program was adopted in 1974 and last amended in 1998. The comprehensive update now under consideration prioritizes water-oriented uses and development, protects sensitive areas and includes a restoration plan for degraded and damaged shoreline.

The restoration plan is a 98-page document that identifies priority projects within 16 management areas. An example is Lewis County’s five Upper Chehalis Management Areas, which include hundreds of river miles along the Coast Range, Willapa Hills, Puget Lowlands, Western Foothills and Cascade Lowlands, along hundreds of river miles. Restoration priorities include improved fish passage, restoration of riparian vegetation, and reconnecting the main stem of the Chehalis River and its tributaries with their floodplains..

The public has until 5 p.m. March 16 to comment on Lewis County’s program.

Lewis County’s proposed Shoreline Master Program can be viewed online. Paper copies can be viewed at Ecology’s Southwest Regional Office, 300 Desmond Dr., Lacey, WA 98577, or at the Lewis County Community Development office, 2025 NE Kresky Ave., Chehalis, WA, 98532.

Comments should be addressed to Ecology’s Kim Van Zwalenburg. Here’s how to submit them:

Mail:      Southwest Regional Office
              PO Box 47775
              Olympia, WA 98504-7775
Phone:  360-407-6520

By Dave Bennett, Southwest Region communications

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