Chapter 19.18C


19.18C.010    Permitted uses and activities.

19.18C.020    Identification.

19.18C.030    Designation.

19.18C.035    Habitat boundary survey.

19.18C.037    Fish/wildlife habitat management and mitigation plan.

19.18C.040    Application requirements.

19.18C.050    General standards.

19.18C.060    Specific standards.

19.18C.010 Permitted uses and activities.

Uses and activities allowed within designated habitat conservation areas 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))

19.18C.020 Identification.

A.    All fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas shall be identified by Douglas County to reflect the relative function, value and uniqueness of the habitat area as established through an approved habitat ranking evaluation submitted by the applicant for any development permit in accordance with the DCC. Douglas County may use the information sources in DCC Section 19.18.040 as guidance in identifying the presence of potential fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas and the subsequent need for a habitat boundary survey along with an on-site inspection, if necessary.

B.    Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas include:

1.    Areas in which endangered, threatened, and sensitive species have a primary association;

2.    Habitats and species of local importance;

3.    Naturally occurring ponds under twenty acres and their submerged aquatic beds that provide fish or wildlife habitat;

4.    Waters of the state;

5.    Lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers planted with game fish by a governmental or tribal entity; or

6.    State natural area preserves and natural resource conservation areas.

Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas do not include such artificial features or constructs as irrigation delivery systems, irrigation infrastructure, irrigation canals, or drainage ditches that lie within the boundaries of and are maintained by a port district or an irrigation district or company.

Identification and regulation of all wetlands, riparian areas, lakes, ponds, streams and rivers shall be in accordance with DCC Chapter 19.18B, Resource Lands/Critical Areas—Wetlands. (Ord. TLS 17-06-18B Exh. B (part); Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part): Ord. TLS 97-10-71B Exh. G (part))

19.18C.030 Designation.

All existing areas of unincorporated Douglas County identified as stated in DCC Section 19.18C.020, as determined by the review authority, are designated as fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas. (Res. TLS 04-39 Att. (part): Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part): Ord. TLS 97-10-71B Exh. G (part))

19.18C.035 Habitat boundary survey.

A.    A wildlife habitat boundary survey and evaluation shall be conducted by a fish or wildlife biologist, as appropriate, who is knowledgeable of wildlife habitat within North Central Washington. The wildlife habitat boundary shall be field staked by the biologist and surveyed by a land surveyor for disclosure on all final plats, maps, etc.

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

1.    The proposed development is not within the extended proximity of the associated habitat;

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

3.    The applicant provides voluntary deed restrictions that are approved by the director.

C.    The wildlife habitat boundary and any associated buffer shall be identified on all plats, maps, plans and specifications submitted for the project. (Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part))

19.18C.037 Fish/wildlife habitat management and mitigation plan.

A.    A fish/wildlife habitat management and mitigation plan shall be prepared by a biologist who is knowledgeable of wildlife habitat within North Central Washington.

B.    The fish/wildlife habitat management and mitigation plan shall demonstrate, when implemented, that the net loss of ecological function of habitat is minimal.

C.    The fish/wildlife habitat 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 habitat conservation area and any associated buffer.

D.    The fish/wildlife habitat management and mitigation plan shall contain a report containing, but 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 of the habitat conservation areas; 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, roads, easements, wastewater facilities, stormwater facilities, utilities, etc., in sufficient detail to allow analysis of such land use change upon the habitat conservation area;

4.    A detailed discussion of surface and subsurface hydrologic features both on and adjacent to the site where the review authority determines appropriate;

5.    A description of the vegetation in the habitat conservation area, on the overall project site and adjacent to the site;

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

d.    Seasonal restriction of construction activities,

e.    Establishment of a timetable for periodic review of the plan;

9.    A detailed discussion of on-going management practices which will protect the habitat conservation area 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.). (Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part))

19.18C.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 fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas may be required if deemed necessary.

Projects processed according to DCC Section 14.10.030 or Section 14.10.040 within a fish or wildlife habitat conservation area or its buffer shall provide the following information:

1.    The location and dimensions of all existing and proposed buildings, roads and other improvements, and their physical relationship to the habitat conservation area;

2.    The location and type of any proposed buffers, including the identification of any other protective measures;

3.    Habitat boundary survey and ranking evaluation pursuant to DCC Section 19.18C.035;

4.    Habitat management and mitigation plan pursuant to DCC Section 19.18C.037;

5.    A drainage and erosion control plan pursuant to DCC Section 19.18.110;

6.    A grading and excavation plan pursuant to DCC Section 19.18.130. (Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part): Ord. TLS 97-10-71B Exh. G (part))

19.18C.050 General standards.

The following minimum standards shall apply to all development activities occurring within designated habitat conservation areas and their associated buffers.

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

B.    Habitat Conservation Areas.

1.    Development occurring within a one thousand foot radius of a state or federal threatened, endangered, or sensitive species den, nesting, or breeding site, migration corridors or feeding areas of terrestrial species shall require a habitat management and mitigation plan.

2.    Cliff, cave and talus slope habitats shall have at least a fifty-foot buffer for safety and resource protection.

3.    Bald Eagles: an approved bald eagle management plan by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife meeting the requirement and guidelines of the Bald Eagle Protection Rules, WAC 232-12-292, as amended, satisfies the requirements of a habitat management and/or mitigation plan.

4.    Rocky Mountain Mule Deer Habitat: habitat connectivity and migration corridors for mule deer shall be considered in habitat management and/or mitigation plans.

5.    Development in or over all surface waters shall require a habitat mitigation plan.

6.    The director may waive management and/or mitigation plan requirements for parcels of record five acres in size or less that are contained within a final plat of a short subdivision or major subdivision filed for record on or before January 28, 2003.

C.    Appropriate buffer areas shall be maintained between all permitted uses and activities and designated habitat conservation areas.

1.    All buffers shall be measured from the habitat edge, as established by the approved habitat boundary survey.

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 habitat conservation area 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 habitat alterations shall have the standard buffer required for the category of the created, restored or enhanced habitat.

4.    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 habitat conservation area function and value. The determination shall be based on site-specific and project-related conditions, which include without limitation:

a.    The designated habitat conservation area 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 an 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 habitat impacts;

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

5.    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. wildlife 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 habitat conservation area contains variations in sensitivity due to existing physical characteristics;

c.    The width averaging will not adversely impact the designated habitat conservation area’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.

e.    Off-site mitigation is required if the buffer area is smaller than normally required in order to accommodate small lot sizes or other special conditions. (Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part): Ord. TLS 00-02-06 Exh. B (part); Ord. TLS 97-10-71B Exh. G (part))

19.18C.060 Specific standards.

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

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

1.    The road shall serve multiple properties;

2.    No significant adverse impacts to the designated habitat conservation 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 is the minimum necessary to provide safe traveling surfaces.

B.    All developments processed according to DCC Section 14.10.020, 14.10.030 or Section 14.10.040 authorized within a designated habitat conservation area shall comply with the following minimum standards:

1.    A habitat management and mitigation plan shall be required for developments within or containing habitat conservation areas.

2.    Designated habitat conservation areas and their associated buffers created within habitat management or mitigation plans shall be delineated and disclosed on final plats, maps, documents, etc., as critical area tracts, nonbuildable lots, buffer areas or common areas. Ownership and control may be transferred to a homeowners’ association or designated as an easement or covenant encumbering the property. (Ord. TLS 03-01-01B Exh. B (part): Ord. TLS 97-10-71B Exh. G (part))