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Shoreline Master Programs Handbook

Our Shoreline Master Programs Handbook is designed to guide local governments through the process of developing Shoreline Master Programs to meet requirements under the state Shoreline Management Act and our Shoreline Master Program Guidelines. The Handbook builds on more than 40 years of collective state and local government experience developing and administering shoreline master programs in Washington.

Our Shoreline Master Programs Handbook provides background about the state Shoreline Management Act and explains state requirements under our Shoreline Master Program Guidelines. The Handbook provides detailed information about the many different necessary tasks to update a shoreline master program such as:

  • Determining shoreline jurisdiction
  • Developing a shoreline inventory and characterization
  • Conducting a shoreline use analysis

The Handbook has guidance about community involvement and public participation — key public process activities to gather best detailed information about local:

  • Public access
  • Shoreline stabilization
  • Buffers and setbacks
  • Aquaculture

The Handbook also contains information addressing sea level rise in a shoreline program.

SMP Handbook list of chapters

The full SMP Handbook is published for your reference online. The Handbook includes the following chapters and appendices, which can be accessed individually from the SMP Handbook link.

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Shoreline Management Overview
  • Chapter 3: All phases - Shoreline Master Program Planning Process
  • Chapter 4: No Net Loss of Shoreline Ecological Functions
  • Chapter 5: Shoreline Jurisdiction
  • Chapter 6: Public Participation
  • Chapter 7: Shoreline Inventory and Characterization
  • Chapter 8: Shoreline Use Analysis
  • Chapter 9: Shoreline Public Access
  • Chapter 10: Community Visioning
  • Chapter 11: Vegetation Conservation, Buffers and Setbacks
  • Chapter 12: Piers, Docks, and Other Structures
  • Chapter 13: Shoreline Environment Designations
  • Chapter 14: Legally Existing Uses and Development
  • Chapter 15: Shoreline Stabilization
  • Chapter 16: Aquaculture
  • Chapter 17: Cumulative Impacts Analysis
  • Chapter 18: Integration of Critical Areas Ordinances
  • Appendix A: Addressing Sea Level Rise in Shoreline Master Programs
  • Appendix B: Additional guidance documents
  • Appendix C: SMP Checklist