Chapter 19.18B


19.18B.010    Permitted uses and activities.

19.18B.020    Identification and rating.

19.18B.030    Designation.

19.18B.035    Wetland management and mitigation plan.

19.18B.040    Application requirements.

19.18B.050    General standards.

19.18B.060    Specific standards.

19.18B.010 Permitted uses and activities.

Uses and activities allowed within designated wetlands or associated wetland buffers are those uses permitted by the zoning district, subject to the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part): Ord. TLS 97-10-71B Exh. G (part))

19.18B.020 Identification and rating.

A.    All wetlands shall be identified and delineated in Douglas County to reflect the relative function, value and uniqueness of the wetland using the Washington State Wetlands Identification and Delineation Manual (WDOE, March 1997, as amended) in conjunction with the Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands (1987, as amended). Douglas County may use the following information sources as guidance in identifying the presence of wetlands and the subsequent need for a wetland delineation study:

1.    Hydric soils, soils with significant soil inclusions, and “wet spots” identified within the Douglas County soil survey;

2.    National Wetlands Inventory;

3.    Previous wetland rating evaluation; and,

4.    On-site inspection.

B.    Wetland boundary surveys and rating evaluations shall be conducted by a biologist and use the Washington State Wetland Rating System for Eastern Washington (Ecology Publication #02-06-019, as amended). The wetland boundary shall be field staked by the biologist and surveyed by a land surveyor for disclosure on all final plats, maps, etc.

C.    The director may waive the requirement for the survey for development if:

1.    The proposed development is not within three hundred feet of the associated wetlands; or

2.    There is adequate information available on the area proposed for development to determine the impacts of the proposed development and appropriate mitigating measures.

D.    The wetland boundary and any associated buffer area shall be identified on all plats, maps, plans and specifications submitted for the project.

E.    An evaluation of any unrated wetland is necessary when there is a proposed development or activity to be located adjacent to, or within an area containing a wetland. (Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part): Ord. TLS 97-10-71B Exh. G (part))

19.18B.030 Designation.

All existing lands, shorelands and waters of Douglas County classified according to the provisions in DCC Section 19.18B.020, as determined by the review authority, are designated as wetlands. (Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part): Ord. TLS 97-10-71B Exh. G (part))

19.18B.035 Wetland management and mitigation plan.

A.    A wetland management and mitigation plan shall be required when impacts to a wetland are unavoidable during project development.

B.    Wetland management and mitigation plans shall be prepared by a biologist or wetland ecologist who is knowledgeable of wetland conditions within North Central Washington.

C.    The wetland management and mitigation plan shall demonstrate, when implemented, that there shall be no net loss of the ecological function or acreage of the wetland.

D.    The wetland management and mitigation plan shall identify how impacts from the proposed project shall be mitigated, as well as the necessary monitoring and contingency actions for the continued maintenance of the wetland and its associated buffer.

E.    The wetland management and mitigation plan shall contain a report that includes, but is not limited to, the following information:

1.    Location maps, regional 1:24,000 and local 1:4,800;

2.    A map or maps indicating the boundary delineation of the wetland; the width and length of all existing and proposed structures, utilities, roads, easements; wastewater and stormwater facilities; adjacent land uses, zoning districts and comprehensive plan designations;

3.    A description of the proposed project including the nature, density and intensity of the proposed development and the associated grading, structures, utilities, etc., in sufficient detail to allow analysis of such land use change upon the identified wetland;

4.    A detailed description of vegetative, faunal and hydrologic conditions, soil and substrate characteristics, and topographic features within and surrounding the wetland;

5.    A detailed description of vegetative, faunal and hydrologic conditions, soil and substrate characteristics, and topographic features within any compensation site;

6.    A detailed description of the proposed project’s effect on the wetland, and a discussion of any federal, state or local management recommendations which have been developed for the area;

7.    A discussion of the following mitigation alternatives as they relate to the proposal:

a.    Avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action,

b.    Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation, by using appropriate technology, or by taking affirmative steps to avoid or reduce impacts,

c.    Rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating or restoring the affected environment,

d.    Compensating for the impact by replacing, enhancing or providing substitute resources or environments;

8.    A plan by the applicant which explains how any adverse impacts created by the proposed development will be mitigated, including without limitation the following techniques:

a.    Establishment of buffer zones,

b.    Preservation of critically important plants and trees,

c.    Limitation of access to the wetland area,

d.    Seasonal restriction of construction activities,

e.    Establishment of a monitoring program within the plan;

f.    Drainage and erosion control techniques.

9.    A detailed discussion of on-going management practices which will protect the wetland after the project site has been fully developed, including proposed monitoring, contingency, maintenance and surety programs.

10.    All reports will be provided in an electronic format (word processor) and all geographic entities (maps etc.) will be provided in a geo-coded format for use in GIS systems (ArcView, MapInfo, AutoCad etc.).

F.    Mitigation ratios shall be used when impacts to wetlands cannot be avoided. The mitigation ratios by wetland type are:

Wetland Type I- 6:1

Wetland Type II- 3:1

Wetland Type III- 2:1

Wetland Type IV- 1.5:1.65

(Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part))

19.18B.040 Application requirements.

Development permit applications shall provide appropriate information on forms provided by the review authority, including without limitation the information described below. Additional reports or information to identify potential impacts and mitigation measures to wetlands may be required if deemed necessary.

Development within a wetland or its buffer shall provide the following information:

1.    Wetland boundary survey and rating evaluation pursuant to DCC Section 19.18B.020;

2.    Wetland management and mitigation plan pursuant to DCC 19.18B.035; (Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part): Ord. TLS 97-10-71B Exh. G (part))

19.18B.050 General standards.

The following minimum standards shall apply to all development activities occurring within designated wetlands and/or their buffers.

A.    Wetlands will be left undisturbed, unless the development proposal involves appropriate mitigation and enhancement measures as determined on a site-specific basis.

B.    Appropriate buffer areas shall be maintained between all permitted uses and activities and the designated wetland.

1.    All buffers shall be measured from the wetland edge, as established by the approved wetland boundary survey. Buffer distances shall be measured from the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) in areas where no vegetation exists, or from the top of the bank where the OHWM cannot be identified on lakes, ponds, streams and rivers. In braided channels, the OHWM or top of bank shall be defined so as to include the entire stream feature.

2.    All buffer areas shall be temporarily fenced between the construction activity and the buffer with a highly visible and durable protective barrier during construction to prevent access and protect the designated wetland and associated buffer. The review authority may waive this requirement if an alternative to fencing which achieves the same objective is proposed and approved.

3.    Except as otherwise allowed, buffers shall be retained in their natural condition. Any habitat created, restored or enhanced as compensation for approved wetland alterations shall have the standard buffer required for the category of the created, restored or enhanced wetland.

4.    Land divisions within designated wetland areas shall require a minimum lot frontage along the protective buffer or shoreline of one hundred feet, measured in a straight line.

5.    The width of the buffer may be increased by the review authority for a development project on a case-by-case basis when a larger buffer is necessary to protect the designated wetland function and value. The determination shall be based on site- specific and project-related conditions which include, without limitation:

a.    The designated wetland is used for feeding, nesting and resting by species proposed or listed by the federal or state government as endangered, threatened, sensitive, candidate, monitor or critical; or if it is outstanding potential habitat for those species or has unusual nesting or resting sites such as heron rookeries or raptor nesting trees;

b.    The adjacent land is susceptible to severe erosion and erosion control measures will not effectively prevent adverse wetland impacts;

c.    The proposed development adjacent to the designated wetland would be a high intensity land use.

6.    Standard buffer widths may be modified by the review authority for a development proposal by averaging buffer widths based on a report submitted by the applicant and prepared by a qualified professional approved by the director (e.g. wetland biologist), and shall only be allowed where the applicant demonstrates all of the following:

a.    Averaging is necessary to avoid an extraordinary hardship to the applicant caused by circumstances peculiar to the property;

b.    The designated wetland contains variations in sensitivity due to existing physical characteristics;

c.    The width averaging will not adversely impact the designated wetland’s functional value;

d.    The total area contained within the buffer after averaging is no less than that contained within the standard buffer prior to averaging.

7.    The width of a wetland buffer, as measured from the wetland edge established in the approved wetland boundary survey, shall be as follows:

Wetland Type 1- 150 feet.

Wetland Type 2- 100 feet.

Wetland Type 3- 75 feet.

Wetland Type 4- 50 feet.

(Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part): Ord. TLS 00-02-06 Exh. B (part): Ord. TLS 97-10-71B Exh. G (part))

19.18B.060 Specific standards.

The following standards shall apply to the activity identified below, in addition to the general standards outlined in DCC Section 19.18B.050.

A.    Docks. Construction of a dock, pier, moorage, float or launch facility may be authorized subject to the following standards:

1.    The dock/facility shall be in substantial conformance with the Douglas County shoreline master program;

2.    The dock/facility and landward access shall not significantly alter the existing wetland or buffer vegetation; and,

3.    For all land divisions, dock/facilities shall be designed, designated and constructed for joint use.

B.    Road Repair and Construction. When no other practical alternative exists, public or private road repair, maintenance, expansion or construction may be authorized within a wetland buffer, subject to the following minimum standards:

1.    The road shall serve multiple properties;

2.    No significant adverse impacts to the designated wetland or buffer area shall result from the repair, maintenance, expansion or construction of any public or private road;

3.    The road shall provide for the location of public utilities, pedestrian or bicycle easements, viewing points, etc.; and

4.    Road repair and construction shall be the minimum necessary to provide safe traveling surfaces.

C.    Developments within a wetland buffer shall comply with the following minimum standards:

1.    All plats shall disclose the presence on each residential lot one building site, including access, that is suitable for development and which is not within the designated wetland or its associated buffer;

2.    All designated wetland areas and their proposed buffers shall be clearly identified on all final plats, maps, documents, etc.;

3.    Designated wetlands and their associated wetland buffers shall be designated and disclosed on the final plats, maps, documents, etc., as critical area tracts, nonbuildable lots and buffer areas or common areas. Ownership and control may be transferred to a homeowner’s association or designated as an easement or covenant encumbering the property.

D.    Stream Crossings. Expansion or construction of stream crossings may be authorized within a designated habitat conservation area, subject to the following minimum standards:

1.    Bridges are required for streams which support salmonids;

2.    All crossings using culverts shall use superspan or oversize culverts;

3.    Crossings shall not occur in salmonid spawning areas unless no other feasible crossing site exists;

4.    Bridge piers or abutments shall not be placed in either the floodway or between the ordinary high water marks unless no other feasible alternative placement exists;

5.    Crossings shall not diminish flood carrying capacity; and

6.    Crossings shall serve multiple properties whenever possible.

7.    Construction of sewer lines or on-site sewage systems within a designated wetland buffer which are necessary to meet state and/or local health code requirements shall not adversely impact the function and quality of the designated wetland buffer. (Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part): Ord. TLS 97-10-71B Exh. G (part))