In 1971, the Shoreline Management Act (SMA) was passed by the state legislature and adopted by popular vote in a 1972 referendum. The legislature established the SMA in recognition that: “shorelines of the state are among the most valuable and fragile of its natural resources and that there is great concern throughout the state relating to their utilization, protection, restoration, and preservation.”
Cities and counties have the primary responsibility for regulating development along their shorelines and are required to adopt a shoreline master program. The SMP contains goals, policies, regulations, and procedures applicable to projects along the shoreline and within 200 feet of the shoreline.
The Department of Ecology (DOE) has authority to review local shoreline master programs and amendments. For more information regarding the SMA and shoreline regulation, please visit the DOE Shoreline Management Act information page.