40.460.570 Vegetation Conservation

A.    Existing vegetation within shoreline jurisdiction shall be retained in the riparian area closest to the water body but landward from the OHWM as follows:

1.    Type S waters in rural areas, one hundred fifty (150) feet;

2.    Type S waters in urban growth areas, one hundred fifteen (115) feet;

3.    Type F waters in rural areas, one hundred fifteen (115) feet;

4.    Type F waters in urban growth areas, one hundred (100) feet;

5.    Type Np waters, seventy-five (75) feet;

6.    Type Ns waters, fifty (50) feet;

7.    Lakes, one hundred (100) feet.

B.    Removal of native vegetation shall be avoided to the extent possible. Where removal of native vegetation cannot be avoided, it shall be minimized to protect shoreline ecological functions.

C.    If non-native vegetation is to be removed, then it shall be replaced with native vegetation within the shoreline jurisdiction.

D.    If vegetation removal cannot be avoided, it shall be minimized and then mitigated at a minimum ratio of one to one (1:1), and shall result in no net loss of shoreline ecological functions. Lost functions may be replaced by enhancing other functions; provided, that no net loss in overall functions is demonstrated and habitat connectivity is maintained. Mitigation shall be provided consistent with an approved mitigation plan.

E.    Development shall be located to avoid clearing and grading impacts to more mature or multistoried plant communities and to retain habitat connectivity.

F.    Developments shall include provisions to ensure preservation of native vegetation and control erosion during construction.

G.    Vegetation that cannot be replaced or restored within twenty (20) years shall be preserved.

H.    Clearing by hand-held equipment of invasive or non-native shoreline vegetation or plants listed on the State Noxious Weed List is permitted in shoreline locations if native vegetation is promptly re-established in the disturbed area.

I.    Topping trees is prohibited.

J.    Thinning of trees is limited, as follows:

1.    Removal of no more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the canopy of any tree or group of trees (calculated based on the area of the crown, or upper portion(s) comprised of branches and leaves or as determined by a certified arborist) in any given five (5) year period;

2.    Pruning of trees that does not affect shoreline ecological functions. No more than twenty percent (20%) of the limbs on any single tree may be removed and no more than twenty percent (20%) of the canopy cover in any single stand of trees may be removed in a given five (5) year period. Pruning shall comply with the National Arborist Association pruning standards, unless the tree is a hazard tree as defined in Section 40.100.070.

K.    Native plant materials which are equivalent to those which would typically occur with respect to size, structure, and diversity at maturation shall be used in restoration, rehabilitation, or enhancement projects.

L.    Natural features such as snags, stumps, logs or uprooted trees, which support fish and other aquatic systems, and which do not intrude on the navigational channel or threaten agricultural land, existing structures and facilities, or public safety shall be left undisturbed.

M.    Unless otherwise stated, the vegetation conservation regulations of this Program do not apply to commercial forest practices as defined by this Program when such activities are covered under the Washington State Forest Practices Act (Chapter 76.09 RCW), except where such activities are associated with a conversion to other uses or other forest practice activities over which local governments have authority, or with flood control levees required to be kept free of vegetation that damages their structural integrity. For the purposes of this Program, preparatory work associated with the conversion of land to nonforestry uses and/or developments shall not be considered a forest practice and shall be reviewed in accordance with the provisions for the proposed nonforestry use, the general provisions of this Program, and shall be limited to the minimum necessary to accommodate an approved use.

N.    Aquatic weed control shall only occur to protect native plant communities and associated habitats or where an existing water-dependent use is restricted by the presence of weeds. Aquatic weed control shall occur in compliance with all other applicable laws and standards and shall be done by a qualified professional.

(Added: Ord. 2012-07-16)