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Ecology to review South Prairie’s proposed shoreline master program update, seeks public comment

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is seeking public comment on proposed updates to South Prairie’s shoreline master program.

The proposed updated shoreline master program will guide construction and development in and along slightly less than a mile of South Prairie Creek. The program integrates the existing critical areas ordinance, updates the use and development regulations as well as the administrative procedures.

South Prairie’s locally tailored shoreline program is designed to help minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and protect the public’s right to public lands and waters.

Under Washington’s 1972 voter-approved Shoreline Management Act, Ecology must review and approve the town’s proposed shoreline program before it takes effect. About 200 cities and counties statewide are in the process or soon will be updating or crafting their master programs.

Ecology will accept public comment on South Prairie’s proposed shoreline program through Feb. 18, 2013. Comments and questions should be addressed to Sarah Lukas, Department of Ecology, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program, PO Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775. Email Lukas at sarah.lukas@ecy.wa.gov, or call (360) 407-7459.

South Prairie’s proposed shoreline program and related documents can be reviewed at:

* Ecology’s Southwest Regional Office Reception Desk, 300 Desmond Drive SE,
Lacey

* Ecology’s website:
* http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/shorelines/smp/mycomments/southprairie.html

* South Prairie’s Town Hall, 121 Washington St., South Prairie

After the public comment period is done, Ecology may approve the proposed shoreline master program as written, reject it or direct the town to modify specific parts. Once approved by Ecology, South Prairie’s shoreline program will become part of the overall state shoreline master program.

South Prairie’s proposed updated shoreline master program:

* Provides shoreline regulations that are integrated with the town’s growth management planning critical areas ordinances.

* Encourages soft-bank erosion control methods and limits construction of new shoreline armoring such as bulkheads.

* Includes a restoration plan showing where and how voluntary improvements in water and upland areas can enhance the local shoreline environment.

* Fosters diversifying existing recreation opportunities along the creek.

* Gives priority to conservation and enhancement of native shoreline vegetation.

* Establishes procedures to preserve and protect historical and archaeological resources.

All of Washington’s cities and counties with regulated shorelines must update their programs by December 2014. They are following regulations adopted by Ecology in 2003. The regulations resulted from a negotiated settlement among 58 different parties including business interests, ports, environmental groups, shoreline user groups, cities and counties, Ecology and the courts.

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