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  • Oystercatchers
  • Cascade Falls, Orcas Island
  • Hundreds of islanders arriving on the interisland ferry to speak up against coal export. Photo by Kelly Andrews
  • FRIENDS efforts work to protect San Juan County's coastal and upland wetlands
  • A large ship transits through Haro Strait in the fog  photo by Chris Teren
  • Local kids exploring the San Juans

Defending our Shorelines
Land Use
Critical Areas Ordinance Update
Shoreline Master Program Update
Safe Shipping through the Salish Sea
Endangered Species




Shoreline Master Program Update

FRIENDS' Spring 2013 SMP Primer

Click here to download the PDF.



The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is a comprehensive shoreline land-use plan ratified by the state Shoreline Management Act in 1972. To regulate shoreline development, the state law requires local governments and the Department of Ecology to mutually regulate shoreline development, use, and protection.

The Shoreline Management Act applies to lakes greater than 20 acres, marine shorelines, land within 200 feet of the ordinary high water mark of such waterbodies, and their associated wetlands.

The law has three main purposes:

Encourage reasonable and orderly development of shorelines, with an emphasis on water-dependent and related uses that control pollution and prevent damage to the natural environment.

Protect the natural character of Washington shorelines, including the land, vegetation, wildlife, and shoreline environment.

Promote public access and provide opportunities to enjoy views and recreational activities in shoreline areas.


For more information: or 

Colin Maycock, Senior Planner, SJC Dept. of Comm. Dev and Planning…
360-370-7573 or 

Washington State Department of Ecology’s Citizens Guide to Shoreline Master Programs SMP overview, frequently asked questions, publications 



Join us in commenting on the SMP update!

The SMP update will guide development along San Juan County’s shorelines for years to come.  And unless the County Council hears from a lot of us, they may adopt the current draft of the SMP, which proposes to eliminate protections that have been critical to keeping our community’s shorelines as healthy, natural, and beautiful as anywhere in Washington. 

On November 30, 2015 the San Juan County Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the SMP update. Please join us in asking the Council to not roll back protections that have helped our shorelines support wildlife, views and our economy.

Comment in person on the 30th (starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Council Hearing Chambers in Friday Harbor) or write an email or letter.

Click here for a sample comment letter that you can use as you craft your own.


Written comments may be submitted in advance of the hearing by mail or by delivery in person. Please deliver written comments to the Clerk of the San Juan County Council at 55 Second Street, Friday Harbor, WA, 98250 or mail to 355 Court Street, #1 Friday Harbor, WA.


Email comments to all of the contacts below:

Ingrid Gabriel (County Council Office) |

Jamie Stephens (Lopez/Shaw/Decatur) |

Bob Jarman (San Juan & Stuart) |

Rick Hughes (Orcas/Waldron/Blakely) |

Colin Maycock (the County’s staff planner) |

Please copy Bob Fritzen (WA Department of Ecology) |


Click below to see emails we have sent out detailing various SMP commenting topics:

Email 1: Protect Shoreline Vegetation

Email 2: Shoreline Designations

Email 3: Don't Roll Back Protections


Click below to view map books of feeder bluffs, forage fish spawning beaches and top priority salmon recovery shorelines in the County and the proposed Shoreline Master Program designation.

Designations and Feeder Bluffs

Designations and Forage Fish Spawn

Designations and Top Salmon Recovery


Additional questions to consider for commenting:

How and where would you like to see shoreline commercial and residential development?

What views are important to you to protect? What areas are important for public access? What access, transportation, water quality, others)?

What are your perceptions of how the county’s shorelines are currently managed?

What do you like and/or dislike about the county’s ability to enforce regulations?

What, if any, changes have you noticed over the last 5-15 years (public access, habitat, use, enforcement. etc.)?

In shoreline areas do you have specific goals or ideas for commercial development, Residential development, habitat protection/restoration, public access?


PO Box 1344, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 Phone: (360) 378-2319, Fax: (360) 378-2324 © 2013


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