Chapter 18E.40
REGULATED FISH AND WILDLIFE SPECIES AND HABITAT CONSERVATION AREAS Revised 3/18 Revised 12/18 Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

Sections:

18E.40.010    Purpose.

18E.40.020    Fish and Wildlife Species and Habitat Conservation Areas. Revised 3/18 Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

18E.40.030    Fish and Wildlife Species and Habitat Conservation Area Review Procedures. Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

18E.40.040    Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Area Standards. Revised 12/18 Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

18E.40.050    Mitigation Requirements. Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

18E.40.060    Buffer Requirements. Revised 12/18 Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

18E.40.070    Appendices. Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

A.    Habitat Assessment Letters.

B.    Habitat Assessment Studies.

C.    Habitat Assessment Reports.

D.    Monitoring Requirements.

E.    Wildfire – Defensible Space Guidelines.

18E.40.010 Purpose.

Many land use activities can impact the habitats of fish and wildlife. Special care must be taken in the management of lands that support critical fish and wildlife species to ensure that development occurs in a manner that is sensitive to their habitat needs. The purpose of this Chapter is to identify regulated fish and wildlife species and habitats and establish habitat protection procedures and mitigation measures that are designed to achieve no "net loss" of species and habitat due to new development or regulated activities. (Ord. 2004-56s § 4 (part), 2004)

18E.40.020 Fish and Wildlife Species and Habitat Conservation Areas. Revised 3/18 Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

A.    General. Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas are those areas that support regulated fish and wildlife species, typically identified either by known point locations of specific species (such as a nest or den) or by habitat areas or both.

B.    Federally- and State-Listed Species and their Associated Habitats. Areas which have a primary association with federally-listed endangered, threatened, and candidate species of fish or wildlife (as specified in 50 CFR 17.11 or 50 CFR 17.12) or State-listed endangered, threatened, sensitive, candidate, and monitor species (as specified in WAC 232-12-297 and WDFW Policy M-6001) that if altered may reduce the likelihood that the species will survive and reproduce over the long term. A list of endangered, threatened, sensitive, candidate, and monitor species found in Pierce County is available at the Pierce County Planning and Public Works Department.

C.    Species of Local Importance and their Associated Habitats. In addition to federally- and state-listed species, the following fish and wildlife species and their associated habitat areas shall be regulated under this Chapter:

1.    Fish. Coho salmon, Chinook salmon, bull trout, pink salmon, chum salmon, sockeye salmon, cutthroat trout, native/wild rainbow trout/steelhead, greenlings (lingcod), Pacific whiting, smelt (longfin, surfsmelt), herring, and sandlance (Pacific).

2.    Birds. Osprey.

3.    Vulnerable Aggregations. Vulnerable aggregations of fish and wildlife species as defined in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Priority Habitats and Species/Heritage Program that reside in Pierce County. A list of vulnerable aggregations of fish and wildlife species found in Pierce County is available at the Pierce County Planning and Public Works Department.

D.    Habitats of Local Importance. Documented habitat areas or potential habitat areas and point locations for fish and wildlife species. These areas include specific habitat types, which are infrequent in occurrence in Pierce County and may provide specific habitats with which endangered, threatened, sensitive, candidate, or monitor fish and wildlife species have a primary association, such as breeding habitat, winter range, and movement corridors. These areas include the following:

1.    Oregon white oak trees and woodlands. Oregon white oak woodlands, stands, and individual trees meeting the following criteria shall be considered priority habitat and shall be subject to protection under the provisions of this Chapter:

a.    Priority Oregon White Oak Woodlands. Stands of Oregon white oak or oak/conifer associations where the stand is at least one acre in size and the canopy coverage of the oak component of the stand is greater than or equal to 25 percent. (See Figure 18E.40-1 in Chapter 18E.120 PCC.)

b.    Significant Oaks and Stands. Within the urban growth area, single oaks or stands of oaks smaller than one acre in size when any of the following criteria are met:

(1)    Individual trees having a diameter at breast height of 20 inches or more; or

(2)    Oregon white oak stands in which the oak trees have an average diameter at breast height of 15 inches or more regardless of stand size.

2.    Prairies.

3.    Old growth/mature forests.

4.    Caves.

5.    Cliffs.

6.    Snag-rich areas and downed logs. Priority logs are > 30 cm (12 in) in diameter at the largest end, and > 6 m (20 feet) long. Priority snag and downed log habitat includes individual snags and/or logs, or groups of snags and/or logs of exceptional value to wildlife due to their scarcity or location in a particular landscape. Areas with abundant, well-distributed snags and logs are also considered priority snag and log habitat. Examples include large, sturdy snags adjacent to open water, remnant snags in developed or urbanized settings, and areas with a relatively high density of snags.

7.    Elk herd winter range.

8.    Talus. Talus areas that support pica or rock rabbit, Van Dyke's salamander, western redback salamander, northern alligator lizard, or western fence lizard.

9.    Commercial and recreational shellfish areas.

10.    Kelp and eelgrass beds.

11.    Herring, smelt, and sandlance spawning areas.

12.    Waters of the state and/or natural waters and adjacent riparian-shoreline areas (165 feet landward measured from the ordinary high water mark) including:

a.    All water bodies classified by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) water typing classification system as detailed in WAC 222-16-030 and 031.

b.    All waters that support regulated fish or wildlife species (i.e., areas that have connectivity to fish bearing waters and may potentially provide habitat given no natural barriers to fish passage).

c.    Ponds and their submerged aquatic beds.

d.    Side channels and/or off-channel habitat.

13.    Estuaries and tidal marshes.

14.    Connectable relic channels and oxbows. A relic channel or oxbow may be considered connectable when any of the following criteria are met:

a.    The channel or oxbow is associated with the river during high flow events;

b.    The depth of the channel or oxbow is at or very near the groundwater elevation;

c.    The channel or oxbow is likely to be captured by the river during high flow events;

d.    Excavation between the channel or oxbow and river will not result in adverse impacts to local groundwater levels or adjacent wetlands.

15.    Wetlands (refer to Chapter 18E.30 PCC).

16.    Heron rookeries.

17.    Cavity nesting duck habitat.

18.    Western bluebird non-artificial nesting sites.

19.    Marine Shoreline Critical Salmon Habitat.

E.    Potential Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas. Potential regulated fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, as depicted on the Critical Areas Atlas-Critical Fish and Wildlife Habitat Area Maps, are those areas where the suspected presence of regulated fish or wildlife species is sufficient to require fish or wildlife habitat conservation area review. (See Figure 18E.40-2 in Chapter 18E.120 PCC.) Potential regulated fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas are determined using the following criteria:

1.    A habitat area identified on one of the maps listed in PCC 18E.10.140 – Appendix A, G (includes, but is not limited to, breeding habitat, winter ranges, movement corridors, kelp and eelgrass beds, commercial and recreational shellfish areas, oak woodlands, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, etc., as outlined in PCC 18E.40.020 A.-D. above) plus the adjacent 165 feet surrounding the habitat area. Note: the 165 foot distance around rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds shall be measured from the ordinary high water mark.

2.    A point location identified on one of the maps listed in PCC 18E.10.140 – Appendix A, G (including, but not limited to, nests, dens, rookeries, etc.) plus the adjacent 800 feet surrounding the point location.

3.    Bald eagle foraging areas (1/2 mile from the nest in either direction along the shoreline and 250 feet landward measured from the ordinary high water mark).

(Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 2005-80s § 3 (part), 2005; Ord. 2004-56s § 4 (part), 2004)

18E.40.030 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Area Review Procedures. Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

A.    General Requirements.

1.    With the exception of the Marine Shoreline Critical Salmon Habitat data layer which is designated and will be regulated according to the mapped area, the Pierce County Critical Areas Atlas-Critical Fish and Wildlife Habitat Area Maps provide an indication of where potential regulated fish and wildlife habitat areas are located within the County. The presence or location of a potential regulated fish or wildlife species, habitat area, or point location that has not been mapped, but that may be present on or adjacent to a site, shall be determined using the procedures and criteria established in this Chapter.

2.    The Department will complete a review of the Critical Areas Atlas – Critical Fish and Wildlife Habitat Area Maps and other source documents for any proposed regulated activity to determine whether the site for the regulated activity is located within a potential regulated fish or wildlife habitat. Identification of a potential regulated fish or wildlife habitat area may also occur as a result of field investigation conducted by Department or Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff.

3.    When the Department's maps, sources, or field investigation indicates that the site for a proposed regulated activity is located within a potential regulated fish or wildlife habitat area, the Department shall require the submittal of a fish and wildlife application and habitat assessment to determine the presence or absence of regulated fish or wildlife species or habitat. The habitat assessment shall be documented as set forth in subsection 18E.40.030 B., below. (See Figure 18E.40-3 in Chapter 18E.120 PCC.)

4.    Projects undergoing review for regulated fish and wildlife habitat areas shall be routed to tribal agencies with jurisdiction for review. Tribes will have an opportunity to provide specific species or habitat related information on proposed development sites. If necessary, the Department will seek additional assistance from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and similar appropriate State and Federal agencies.

5.    Approval of a fish and wildlife application shall be granted upon a determination that the habitat assessment and mitigation plan, if applicable, are thorough and accurate and meet all requirements of this Title.

6.    If application of the standards contained in this Chapter would deny all reasonable use of a site, the applicant may pursue a Reasonable Use Exception as set forth in PCC 18E.20.050.

7.    Unless otherwise stated in this Chapter, the critical area protective measure provisions contained in PCC 18E.10.080 shall apply.

B.    Habitat Assessment. A habitat assessment is a site investigation process to evaluate the potential presence or absence of a regulated fish or wildlife species or habitat affecting a subject property.

1.    The applicant may select a wetland specialist or a fish or wildlife biologist, as allowed by this Section, or Department staff to conduct a habitat assessment to determine whether or not a regulated fish or wildlife habitat area, point location, and any associated buffer are located on the site for a proposed development as outlined below:

a.    Applicants for single-family dwellings or agricultural activities may retain Department staff to complete the habitat assessment as follows:

(1)    Requests for Department staff to conduct a habitat assessment shall be accompanied with a fish and wildlife habitat area application and associated fee(s).

(2)    If Department staff conducts the habitat assessment and determines that no regulated fish or wildlife habitat areas, point locations, or associated buffers are present on the site, then fish and wildlife habitat area review will be considered complete.

(3)    If Department staff conducts the habitat assessment and determines that regulated fish or wildlife habitat areas, point locations, or associated buffers are present on the site, then the Department will offer the applicant the option of either complying with standard requirements set forth in PCC 18E.40.040 or seeking approval of an alternate approach. For alternate approaches, applicant shall be required to submit a habitat assessment study or a habitat assessment report as outlined in subsection 18E.40.030 B.1.b.

b.    If the regulated fish or wildlife habitat area is a point location or species-related habitat area, then a fish or wildlife biologist, as appropriate, shall conduct the habitat assessment. If the regulated fish or wildlife habitat area is solely related to the presence of a natural water, then either a fish or wildlife biologist or Wetland Specialist may conduct the habitat assessment. In either instance the following documentation shall be submitted to the Department.

(1)    If the field investigation determines that a fish or wildlife habitat conservation area, point location or associated buffer is not located on the site, then a habitat assessment letter shall be submitted for County review. The habitat assessment letter shall meet the requirements contained in PCC 18E.40.070 – Appendix A. (See Figure 18E.40-3 in Chapter 18E.120 PCC.)

(2)    If the field investigation determines a fish or wildlife habitat conservation area, point location, or associated buffer is located on the site and the proposed regulated activity complies with the standards set forth in PCC 18E.40.040 and the buffer requirements as set forth in PCC 18E.40.060, then a habitat assessment study shall be submitted for County review. The habitat assessment study shall meet the requirements contained in PCC 18E.40.070 – Appendix B. (See Figure 18E.40-3 in Chapter 18E.120 PCC.)

(3)    If the field investigation determines a fish or wildlife habitat conservation area, point location, or associated buffer is located on the site but the proposed development activity does not or cannot comply with the standards set forth in PCC 18E.40.040 or the buffer requirements as set forth in PCC 18E.40.060, then a habitat assessment report shall be submitted for County review. The habitat assessment report shall meet the requirements contained in PCC 18E.40.070 – Appendix C. (See Figure 18E.40-3 in Chapter 18E.120 PCC.)

(4)    Habitat assessments shall be submitted to the Department for review and approval together with a fish and wildlife habitat area application and associated fee(s).

(5)    Habitat assessments shall be prepared, signed, and dated by a wetland specialist, fisheries or wildlife biologist, as applicable to the particular species or habitat type.

(6)    Habitat assessment reports shall address the mitigation requirements set forth in PCC 18E.40.050.

2.    All habitat assessments submitted under the requirements of this Chapter shall, at a minimum, include the following:

a.    The parcel number of the subject property.

b.    The site address of the subject property, if one has been assigned by the County.

c.    The date and time when the site evaluation for the habitat assessment was conducted and the date when the habitat assessment was prepared.

d.    The credentials of the fish or wildlife biologist who prepared the habitat assessment.

e.    The mailing address and phone number of the property owner and the fish or wildlife biologist that prepared the habitat assessment.

f.    A detailed description of the vegetation on and adjacent to the site.

g.    Identification and a detailed description of any critical fish or wildlife species or habitats, as set forth in PCC 18E.40.020, on or adjacent to the site and the distance of such habitats or species in relation to the site. Describe efforts to determine the status of any critical species in the project area, including information on survey methods, timing, and results of surveys for species or suitable habitat identification.

h.    Include any information received from biologists with special expertise on the species or habitat type, such as WDFW, Tribal, USFS, or other local, regional, federal, and university fish, wildlife and habitat biologists and plant ecologists. Include any such conversations in the habitat assessment and cite as personal communication.

i.    A map showing the location of the site, including written directions.

j.    The Department may also require that the applicant request a separate evaluation of the site by WDFW staff to confirm the findings of the habitat assessment.

3.    The Department shall review the habitat assessment and either:

a.    Accept the habitat assessment and approve the critical fish and wildlife application; or

b.    Reject the habitat assessment and notify the applicant in writing of the reasons why the habitat assessment was rejected.

C.    Combined Habitat Assessment – Wetland Review Process. When the Department's maps, sources, or field investigation indicates that the site of a proposed regulated activity is located within both a potential regulated fish and wildlife habitat area and a wetland or buffer, the applicant may be allowed to submit the results of both the habitat assessment, as set forth in subsection 18E.40.040 B., and wetland review, as defined in PCC 18E.30.030, as one application along with the associated fee.

(Ord. 2006-103s § 2 (part), 2006; Ord. 2005-80s § 3 (part), 2005; Ord. 2004-56s § 4 (part), 2004)

18E.40.040 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Area Standards. Revised 12/18 Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

A.    General.

1.    All regulated activities shall be located outside fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas and their associated buffers, as outlined in PCC 18E.40.060.

2.    Where encroachment into the standard or averaged buffer as allowed by PCC 18E.40.060 cannot be avoided, the applicant may follow the standards outlined in PCC 18E.40.040 B., C., or D.

3.    If a regulated activity cannot meet the requirements of PCC 18E.40.040 B., C., or D., then an applicant may pursue a variance or reasonable use exception as outlined in Chapter 18E.20 PCC.

4.    If the Department determines that mitigation is necessary to offset the identified impacts from a proposed development, the applicant shall comply with the mitigation requirements set forth in PCC 18E.40.050.

5.    Wetlands shall be regulated pursuant to the requirements contained in Chapter 18E.30 PCC.

B.    Riparian Areas, Ponds, Marine Waters Designated as Shoreline Critical Salmon Habitat, Lakes, and Associated Buffers. The following specific regulated activities may occur within a riparian area, river, stream, pond, marine water designated as Marine Shoreline Critical Salmon Habitat, lake, or associated buffer subject to the following standards:

1.    Clearing and Grading. When clearing and grading is permitted as part of an authorized regulated activity or as otherwise allowed in these standards, the following shall apply:

a.    Grading is allowed only during the dry season, which is typically regarded as beginning on May 1st and ending on October 1st of each year, provided that the Department may extend or shorten the dry season on a case-by-case basis, determined on actual weather conditions. Clearing and grading may be allowed during the wet season if all drainage will flow away from any waterbody/ watercourse.

b.    Filling or modification of a wetland or wetland buffer is permitted only if it is conducted as part of an approved wetland permit issued by the Department.

c.    The soil duff layer shall remain undisturbed to the maximum extent possible. Where feasible, any soil disturbed shall be redistributed to other areas of the project site.

d.    The moisture-holding capacity of the topsoil layer shall be maintained by minimizing soil compaction or reestablishing natural soil structure and infiltrative capacity on all areas of the site that impervious surfaces do not cover.

e.    Erosion and sediment control that meets or exceeds the standards set forth in the Pierce County Stormwater Drainage Manual shall be provided.

2.    Vegetation Removal, Disturbance, and Introduction. Vegetation removal shall be allowed subject to the following standards:

a.    Hazard trees may be cut provided that:

(1)    The applicant submits a report from a licensed landscape architect or Professional Forester that documents the hazard and provides a replanting schedule for the replacement trees and receives written approval from Pierce County authorizing tree removal;

(2)    Tree cutting shall be limited to limbing and crown thinning, unless otherwise justified by the landowner's expert. Where limbing or crown thinning is not sufficient to address the hazard, trees should be topped to remove the hazard rather than cut at or near the base of the tree. All vegetation cut (tree stems, branches, tops, etc.) shall be left within the critical area or buffer unless removal is warranted due to the potential for disease transmittal to other healthy vegetation;

(3)    The landowner shall replace any trees that are felled or topped with new trees at a ratio of two replacement trees for each tree felled or topped. Tree species that are native and indigenous to the site shall be used;

(4)    Hazard trees determined to pose an imminent threat or danger to public health or safety, or to public or private property, or serious environmental degradation may be removed or topped by the landowner prior to receiving written approval from Pierce County provided that within 14 days following such action, the landowner shall submit the necessary report and replanting schedule demonstrating compliance with PCC 18E.40.040 B.2.a.(1) through (3) above.

b.    Trimming of vegetation for purposes of providing view corridors will be allowed without a complete mitigation plan provided that trimming shall be limited to view corridors of 20 feet in width or less and that benefits to fish and wildlife habitat are not reduced. Trimming shall be limited to hand pruning of branches and vegetation. Trimming shall not include felling, topping, or removal of trees. An applicant who wishes to remove trees or create a view corridor of larger size must complete review as set forth in PCC 18E.40.030.

c.    Vegetation and tree removal subject to the conditions contained in an approval for a regulated activity.

d.    Introduced vegetation shall be limited to species that are native and historically indigenous to the site.

3.    Fencing.

a.    Fencing shall be placed in such a manner as to maintain wildlife movement corridors and not create any fish passage blockages.

b.    The Department has the authority to approve the location, type, and height of any proposed or required fencing unless superceded by any Federal or State agency approvals.

4.    Shoreline Erosion Control Measures. New or replacement shoreline erosion control measures shall be subject to the following standards:

a.    The proposal complies with the provisions set forth in Chapter 18E.110 PCC.

b.    The applicant has submitted a habitat assessment report, as set forth in PCC 18E.40.030.

c.    The habitat assessment report demonstrates the following:

(1)    Natural shoreline processes will be maintained. The project will not result in increased beach erosion or alterations to, or loss of, shoreline substrate within 1/4 mile of the site.

(2)    The shoreline erosion control measure will not adversely impact critical fish or wildlife habitat areas or associated wetlands.

(3)    Adequate mitigation measures, as set forth in PCC 18E.40.050, are provided that ensure no net loss of intertidal or riparian habitat or function occurs as a result of the proposed shoreline erosion control measure.

(4)    No alteration of intertidal migration corridors occurs as a result of the proposed shoreline erosion control measure.

5.    Streambank Stabilization. Streambank stabilization to protect new structures from future channel migration is not permitted except when such stabilization is achieved through bioengineering or soft armoring techniques or public flood control projects. Streambank stabilization shall comply with the provisions set forth in Chapter 18E.70 PCC.

6.    Launching Ramps – Public or Private. Launching ramps may be allowed when the applicant has submitted a habitat assessment report as set forth in PCC 18E.40.030 that has demonstrated the following:

a.    The project will not result in increased beach erosion or alterations to, or loss of, shoreline substrate within 1/4 mile of the site.

b.    The ramp will not adversely impact critical fish or wildlife habitat areas or associated wetlands.

c.    Adequate mitigation measures, as set forth in PCC 18E.40.050, are provided that ensure no net loss of intertidal or riparian habitat or function occurs as a result of the ramp.

d.    No alteration of intertidal migration corridors as a result of the ramp.

7.    Docks. Repair and maintenance of an existing dock or pier or construction of a new dock or pier shall be permitted subject to the following:

a.    Repair and maintenance:

(1)    There is no increase in the use of materials creating shade for predator species or eelgrass;

(2)    There is no expansion in overwater coverage;

(3)    There is no new spanning of waters between 3 and 13 feet deep;

(4)    There is no increase in the size and number of pilings; and

(5)    There is no use of toxic materials (such as creosote) that come in contact with the water.

b.    New docks and piers subject to compliance with any WDFW HPA or US Army Corps of Engineers permit conditions.

8.    Roads, Trails, Bridges, and Rights-of-Way. Construction of trails, roadways, and minor road bridging may be allowed subject to the following standards:

a.    There is either no feasible alternative route with less impact on the environment or it has been approved by the County Council as part of a nonmotorized public trail system.

b.    The crossing allows for uninterrupted downstream movement of wood and gravel.

c.    Mitigation, pursuant to PCC 18E.40.050, for impacts is provided.

d.    Road bridges are designed according to the WDFW Habitat and Lands Environmental Division's Fish Passage Design at Road Culverts, March, 1999 and the NMFS Guidelines for Salmonid Passage at Stream Crossings, 2000.

e.    Trails and associated viewing platforms shall be made of pervious materials.

9.    Utility Facilities.

a.    Installation of a utility is permitted if constructed in an existing, improved roadway, drivable surface or shoulder, in Pierce County rights-of-way subject to compliance to the Pierce County Manual on Accommodating Utilities in the Right-of-Way road.

b.    New utility lines and facilities are permitted to cross regulated streams and bodies of water if they comply with the following standards:

(1)    Avoid critical fish and wildlife habitat areas to the maximum extent possible.

(2)    Crossings are contained within the footprint of an existing road or utility crossing where possible.

(3)    Avoid paralleling the stream or following a down-valley course near the channel.

(4)    Do not increase or decrease the natural rate of shore migration or channel migration.

(5)    Bore beneath the scour depth and hyporheic zone of the water body and CMZ where feasible. Whenever boring under the channel is not feasible then any channel crossings shall occur at an angle that is between 60 and 90 degrees from the centerline of the channel.

10.    Public Flood Protection Measures. New public flood protection measures and expansion of existing ones may be approved, subject to the County's review and approval of a habitat assessment report or the approval of a Federal Biological Assessment.

11.    Instream Structures. A new instream structure (e.g., such as but not limited to high flow bypass, sediment ponds, instream ponds, retention and detention facilities, tide gates, dams, weirs, engineered wood systems, etc.) shall be allowed only as part of an approved mitigation or restoration project or watershed basin plan approved by the County and upon acquisition of any required State or Federal permits. The structure shall be designed to avoid modifying flows and water quality in ways that may adversely affect critical fish species.

12.    Stormwater Conveyance Facilities. Conveyance structures whose sole purpose is to convey stormwater already treated for quality, or water bypassed around water quality treatment facilities pursuant to an approved stormwater plan, may be constructed subject to the following standards:

a.    No other feasible alternatives with less impact exist;

b.    Mitigation for impacts is provided;

c.    Stormwater conveyance facilities shall incorporate fish habitat features;

d.    Vegetation shall be maintained and, if necessary, added adjacent to all open channels and ponds in order to retard erosion, filter out sediments, and shade the water.

13.    On-site Sewage Systems and Wells.

a.    New on-site sewage systems and individual wells are permitted if accessory to an approved structure.

b.    Repairs to failing on-site sewage systems associated with an existing structure shall be accomplished by utilizing one of the following methods that result in the least impact:

(1)    Connection to an available public sewer system pursuant to Title 13 PCC;

(2)    Replacement with a new on-site sewage system located in a portion of the site that has already been disturbed by development and is located landward as far as possible, provided the proposed sewage system is in compliance with the provisions in Chapter 18E.70 PCC; or

(3)    Repair to the existing on-site septic system.

14.    New Agricultural Activities. New agricultural activities are permitted subject to the following:

a.    Agricultural activities and structures shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 18E.70 PCC, Flood Hazard Areas.

b.    The agricultural activity is in compliance with the USDA, NRCS farm management standards.

c.    A copy of an approved NRCS or Pierce County Conservation District farm management plan that documents compliance with the USDA, NRCS farm management standards has been submitted to the Department for review and approval.

15.    Structures and Landscaped Areas. New construction, redevelopment, reconstruction, or additions or expansions of single-family, two-family, multi-family, mobile/manufactured homes, commercial, industrial or agricultural building structures and associated landscaped areas and other related appurtenances (driveways, utilities, accessory structures, parking areas, etc.) that exceed the exemption standards set forth in PCC 18E.20.030 F. and G. may be permitted subject to the following:

a.    The proposed single-family, multi-family, commercial, industrial, or agricultural building structure, accessory structures, or related appurtenances (e.g., wells, septic systems, sheds, driveways, parking areas) is located on a lot that was vested (see Chapter 18.160 PCC) prior to March 1, 2005, subject to the following conditions:

(1)    Applicants shall demonstrate there are no other feasible alternatives on the lot that would allow the proposed development to occur completely outside the fish or wildlife habitat conservation area or the required buffer.

(2)    The principle structure, accessory structures or related appurtenances (such as landscaped areas, wells, onsite septic systems, etc.) cannot be located outside the fish or wildlife habitat conservation area or required buffer due to topographic constraints of the parcel, parcel size and/or location of the parcel in relation to the limits of the fish or wildlife habitat conservation area or required buffer.

(3)    If applicable, buffer averaging pursuant to PCC 18E.40.060 C.1. or a buffer reduction/building setback variance has been reviewed, analyzed, and rejected as a feasible alternative to encroachment into the fish or wildlife habitat conservation area or associated buffer.

(4)    The habitat assessment report includes a buffer enhancement plan as part of the mitigation required by PCC 18E.40.050. The buffer enhancement plan shall use native, non-invasive plant species that are indigenous to the underlying soils and plant community types contained within the project area and shall substantiate that an enhanced buffer will improve the functional attributes of the buffer to provide additional protection for fish or wildlife habitat values.

b.    The proposed development is not located on a transitory feature such as a sandbar, spit, or sand point.

c.    Maximum disturbance (including the principal structure, accessory structures, and related appurtenances such as landscaped areas, wells, onsite septic systems, etc.) within the habitat area and/or associated buffer shall be limited to 50 percent of the area of the buffer to a maximum of 5,000 square feet, unless otherwise specified in PCC 18E.40.040 B.15.d.-f.

d.    Development that exceeds the requirements outlined in PCC 18E.20.040, must be located landward to the extent possible and is prohibited within 50 feet of any Type S, F1, F2, or N1 water, channel migration zone, side channel, spring, or off-channel habitat.

e.    Development that exceeds the requirements outlined in PCC 18E.20.040, must be located landward to the extent possible and is prohibited within 35 feet of any Type N2 or N3 water, including connectable relic channels or oxbows.

f.    Expansions and redevelopment projects shall be limited to the lesser of 1,000 additional square feet of disturbance area or the same area and disturbance criteria that would have been permitted if the site were undeveloped.

g.    The area not disturbed by development shall be managed for native or approved vegetation and planted with native or approved vegetation where necessary following adopted guidelines to reestablish natural forested conditions (example: WDFW's Restoring the Watershed, A Citizen's Guide to Riparian Restoration in Western Washington).

h.    The proposal complies with the standards set forth in Chapter 18E.70 PCC, Flood Hazard Areas.

i.    To avoid stormwater impacts, impervious surface shall be limited to the minimum amount necessary to accommodate the proposed development. Where possible, impervious surfaces such as driveways, sport courts, patios, etc. shall be made of pervious materials and rooftop runoff shall be dispersed and directed into bioretention facilities.

j.    The conversion of lots from single-family to any other land use (e.g., multi-family, commercial, industrial, agricultural) permitted in the underlying zone, except forest land or natural resource conservation uses, is prohibited.

16.    Alteration of Watercourses. Alterations and relocations of watercourses, including stabilization projects, shall not degrade fish habitat and shall be subject to the following provisions:

a.    Structures that cross all watercourse and water bodies shall meet fish habitat requirements of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

b.    Any culverts that are used on fish-bearing watercourses shall be arch/bottomless culverts or equivalent that provides comparable fish protection, and must meet fish habitat requirements of the latest edition of WDFW's Design Manual for Culverts.

c.    Bridges or other crossings shall allow for uninterrupted downstream movement of wood and gravel, be as close to perpendicular to the watercourse as possible, and be designed to minimize fill and to pass the base flood flows.

d.    Watercourse alterations shall maintain natural meander patterns, channel complexity, and floodplain connectivity. Where feasible, such characteristics shall be restored as part of the watercourse alteration.

e.    The applicant shall identify the channel migration zone for the watercourse at the project site and for a reasonable reach upstream and downstream of the site, and shall not undertake actions as part of the alteration that would in any way inhibit movement of the channel.

f.    Existing culverts that do not meet fish habitat requirements shall be removed or replaced as part of an approved watercourse alteration project.

g.    Watercourse alteration projects shall not result in a fish blockage of side channels. Known fish barriers into side channels shall be removed as part of the approved watercourse alteration project.

h.    For any watercourse alteration of a Type S or F water (pursuant to PCC 18E.40.060 B.) whose channel is subject to migration, bioengineered (soft) armoring of streambanks is required to allow for woody debris recruitment, gravels for spawning, and creation of side channels. The bioengineering technique used must be designed in accordance with the latest edition of WDFW's Integrated Streambank Protection Guidelines.

17.    Artificial Channels – Type FW.

a.    New activities adjacent to artificial channels – type FW are exempt from the buffering provisions of this Title.

b.    Protection of these channels will be provided through compliance with all of the following:

(1)    A 15-foot building setback shall be maintained from the ordinary high water mark or top of bank of the channel.

(2)    Clearing and grading activities within the building setback shall comply with the requirements of PCC 18E.40.040 B.1.

(3)    A silt fence shall be installed along the outer edge of the developed area, which shall be no closer to the channel than the top of bank or ordinary high water mark.

c.    The Department may also require the applicant to do any of the following:

(1)    Post signs along the channel indicating the presence of the fish and wildlife habitat area. Sign design shall be established by the Department.

(2)    Construct permanent fencing along the top of bank of the channel.

d.    Any proposed channel alteration will require the submittal of a fish and wildlife application, as set forth in PCC 18E.40.030, and a habitat assessment report as defined within PCC 18E.40.070 – Appendix C.

18.    Wildfire Defensible Space Activities. Within existing lots of record located in wildland areas, creation of a defensible space for protection against wildfire may be allowed in buffer areas located within 30 feet of dwellings, barns, and commercial-use buildings. These allowances do not apply to features such as swing sets, fences, dog houses, and other structures that can be easily relocated. The following defensible space activities may be allowed:

a.    Tree limb removal. Where understory shrubs are present below the tree, removal shall follow the guidelines of Chapter 18E.40 PCC – Appendix E. Where understory shrubs are not present, tree limbs may be removed to a height of 10 feet above the ground;

b.    Interruption of continuous shrub vegetation by selective thinning as defined within Chapter 18E.40 PCC – Appendix E;

c.    Replacement of evergreen species with less flammable, native species as defined within Chapter 18E.40 PCC – Appendix E.

C.    Oregon White Oak Trees and Woodlands.

1.    Habitat Protection. Oak woodlands, stands, and individual trees meeting the criteria set forth in PCC 18E.40.020 D. shall be protected as follows:

a.    Priority Oregon White Oak Woodlands.

(1)    Priority Oregon white oak woodlands shall be protected through inclusion within a conservation tract or alternative protective mechanism meeting the requirements set forth in PCC 18E.10.080 D. The tract shall extend a minimum of 5 feet beyond the outermost dripline of the trees within the woodland.

(2)    A minimum of 80 percent of the Oregon white oak trees on site having a diameter at breast height of six inches or larger shall be preserved within the conservation tract.

(3)    The conservation tract shall be maintained in an undisturbed state except for periodic watering, grass mowing of not more than four times per year, and hand removal of noxious or invasive plants, including conifer seedlings and saplings.

(4)    No clearing, grading, filling, or construction of any kind shall occur within the conservation tract.

(5)    Use of pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides, fungicides, or fertilizers in the conservation tract shall be prohibited.

(6)    All oak snags and broken, diseased and dying oak trees and live oak trees with cavities, heartwood rot, and insect infestations shall be retained within the conservation tract.

(7)    Downed or felled oak trees within the conservation tract shall be retained, provided that such trees may be selectively cut to further enhance habitat value.

(8)    Top-cut (leave main trunk standing) selective oak trees in dense, even-aged oak stands to encourage oak regeneration and create oak snags. Select top-cut, prune, or limb these individual oaks between December and May. Very old or large oaks as defined in PCC 18E.40.020 D. shall not be removed.

(9)    Conifers that encroach on oaks within a conservation tract may be removed.

(10)    Plant Oregon white oak acorns and oak seedlings to encourage regeneration as necessary in conservation tracts.

(11)    No unauthorized vehicles, construction materials, fuel, or other materials shall be allowed in the tree protection area.

b.    Significant Oaks and Stands.

(1)    Significant Oaks. Seventy percent of all Oregon white oaks having a diameter at breast height of 20 inches or greater shall be preserved.

(2)    Significant Oak Stands. A minimum of 50 percent of the Oregon white oak trees within the stand shall be preserved.

(3)    Downed or felled oak trees and snags within significant oak stands shall be retained when located within a tract of land separate from individually owned lots.

(4)    The largest of the significant trees on the site shall be preserved within a conservation tract. The remaining trees may be located within individually owned lots or a separate tract(s) at the discretion of the developer.

2.    Protection of Trees During Construction. Trees conserved pursuant to this subsection shall be protected before and during site development and construction through adherence to the following requirements:

a.    A tree protection area shall be designed to protect each tree or tree stand during site development and construction. Tree protection areas may vary widely in shape, but must extend a minimum of 5 feet beyond the existing tree canopy area along the outer edge of the dripline of the tree(s), unless otherwise approved by the Department.

b.    Tree protection areas shall be added and clearly labeled on all applicable site development and construction drawings, submitted to the Department.

c.    Temporary construction fencing at least 30 inches tall shall be erected around the perimeter of the tree protection areas prior to the initiation of any clearing or grading. The fencing shall be posted with signage clearly identifying the tree protection area. The fencing shall remain in place through site development and construction.

d.    No clearing, grading, filling, or other development activities shall occur within the tree protection area, except where approved in advance by the Department and shown on the approved plans for the proposal.

e.    No vehicles, construction materials, fuel, or other materials shall be placed in tree protection areas. Movement of any vehicles within tree protection areas shall be prohibited.

f.    No nails, rope, cable, signs, or fencing shall be attached to any tree proposed for retention.

g.    The Department may approve the use of alternate tree protection techniques if an equal or greater level of protection will be provided.

D.    Standards for Other Critical Habitat Areas. Standards for critical habitat areas not listed subsections 18E.40.030 A. and B. above shall be administratively developed by the Department in consultation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and shall be based upon the needs of specific species or habitat area of study. The administrative standards shall be on file with the Department prior to implementation and made available to the public upon request. The Department shall utilize the published WDFW PHS management recommendations. An applicant may request that the Department consult directly with the WDFW on a project specific basis at any time prior to the issuance of the fish and wildlife habitat approval for the project. Once issued, the fish and wildlife habitat approval may be appealed following the procedures set forth in PCC 18E.10.090.

(Ord. 2018-68s § 4 (part), 2018; Ord. 2016-33 § 2 (part), 2016; Ord. 2016-14s § 4, 2016; Ord. 2009-18s3 § 4 (part), 2009; Ord. 2006-103s § 2 (part), 2006; Ord. 2005-80s § 3 (part), 2005; Ord. 2004-56s § 4 (part), 2004)

18E.40.050 Mitigation Requirements. Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

A.    All regulated development activities in critical fish and/or wildlife habitat areas and associated buffers shall be mitigated in the following order:

1.    Avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of actions.

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

3.    The following types of mitigation (in order of priority):

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

b.    Reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the action; or

c.    Compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments. For freshwater aquatic resource areas including riparian areas, ponds, lakes, and associated buffers, the purchase of credits from an in-lieu fee mitigation program (ILF program) or wetland mitigation bank may be an acceptable means of meeting this requirement for compensation (see Chapters 18G.20 and 18G.30 PCC). In these instances, the WDFW and other members of the Interagency Review Team (IRT) shall be consulted as per the directions in the PCILF Program Instrument (PCC 18G.20.030 D.2.).

4.    Monitoring the impact and compensation and taking appropriate corrective measures. Specific monitoring requirements are provided in PCC 18E.40.070 – Appendix D.

5.    Mitigation for individual actions may include a combination of the above measures.

B.    Specific mitigation elements are to be discussed within a habitat assessment report, as defined in PCC 18E.40.070 – Appendix C. The habitat assessment report is to provide specific recommendations to reduce, eliminate, or mitigate for the adverse effects of the proposed activity. Potential measures include timing restrictions for all or some of the activities; clearing limitations; avoidance of specific areas; special construction techniques; COHP conditions; HPA conditions; planting with native vegetation; habitat enhancement (i.e., fish passage barrier removal); best management practices; etc. If applicable, append a copy of the HPA, specifications for BMPs, or other documentation to support the implementation of the conservation measure.

C.    The Department may require an enhancement plan that provides mitigation for the impacts associated with any encroachment into the habitat area or associated buffer, in conjunction with a request for buffer averaging/reduction as set forth in PCC 18E.40.060 C., or where vegetation is inadequate to provide optimal function as set forth in PCC 18E.40.060 D. The enhancement plan shall use native plant species that are indigenous to the project area and shall substantiate that an enhanced habitat area and/or buffer will improve the functional attributes of the affected area to provide additional protection for critical fish or wildlife habitat, wetlands, landslide hazard areas, or adjacent properties that may be affected by the proposal. At a minimum, the enhancement plan shall include detailed information on the following:

1.    Type of species proposed.

2.    Exact location of proposed enhancement area.

3.    Timing and schedule of planting.

4.    Schedule for monitoring and maintenance and any financial guarantees for these as required in PCC 18E.10.080.

5.    Name, address, and telephone number of the person(s) responsible for the enhancement project.

6.    Any additional information required by the Department.

D.    Mitigation of alterations to habitat areas shall achieve equivalent or greater biological functions and shall include mitigation for adverse impacts upstream and downstream of the development proposal site. Mitigation shall address each functional attribute affected by the alteration to achieve functional equivalency or improvement on a per function basis. Mitigation elements to be addressed may include, but are not limited to: restoration of previously degraded areas and key habitat features, restoration of riparian vegetation communities to provide shade and large woody debris, addition of large woody debris, and installation of upland habitat features.

E.    In cases in which it is determined that aquatic habitat mitigation is appropriate, the following shall apply:

1.    Mitigation shall be provided on-site, except where the applicant demonstrates that on-site mitigation is not scientifically feasible or practical due to physical features of the site or where it can be demonstrated that greater functional and habitat values can be achieved through offsite mitigation. Purchase of credits from an in-lieu fee mitigation program (ILF program) or wetland mitigation bank may also be allowed when they are demonstrated to adequately compensate for project-specific impacts; and

2.    When mitigation cannot be provided on-site, it shall be provided in the immediate vicinity of and within the same watershed as the regulated activity.

(Ord. 2014-33 § 1 (part), 2014; Ord. 2004-56s § 4 (part), 2004)

18E.40.060 Buffer Requirements. Revised 12/18 Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

A.    Buffer Delineation. Buffers shall be required as set forth for each habitat type. The required buffers shall be delineated, both on a site plan or plat and on the property, prior to approval of any regulated activity.

B.    Buffer Widths.

1.    Riparian Areas, Lakes, and Ponds.

a.    Riparian areas (rivers, streams, and creeks), lakes, and ponds shall be managed through the use of buffers. Buffers shall be based upon the water type classification of the water body as established by the Department of Natural

Resources Stream Typing Classification System. Refer to Table 18E.40.060 for the water types and the associated buffer requirements.

b.    The required riparian buffer width is measured from the edge of the channel migration zone (CMZ), where identified, or the ordinary high water mark, whichever is greater. The criteria for determining the locations of the CMZ is provided in Chapter 18E.70 PCC.

c.    The required lake or pond buffer width is measured from the edge of the ordinary high water mark (OHWM).

d.    The required buffer shall be extended to include any adjacent regulated wetland(s), landslide hazard areas and/or erosion hazard areas and required buffers. (See Figures 18E.40-4 and 18E.40-5 in Chapter 18E.120 PCC.)

2.    Marine Waters Designated as Marine Shoreline Critical Salmon Habitat.

a.    Marine shoreline critical salmon habitat shall be managed through the use of buffers. Refer to Table 18E.40.060 for the associated buffer requirements.

b.    The required buffer width is measured from the edge of the ordinary high water mark (OHWM).

c.    The required buffer shall be extended to include any adjacent regulated wetland(s), landslide hazard areas and/or erosion hazard areas and required buffers. (See Figures 18E.40-4 and 18E.40-5 in Chapter 18E.120 PCC.)

3.    Buffers for Other Critical Habitat Areas. Appropriate buffers for critical habitat areas not listed in Table 18E.40.060 shall be determined on a case by case basis, based upon the needs of specific species or habitat area of study. The Department will coordinate with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in these instances to determine an appropriate buffer width and when available shall rely upon buffer widths specified in WDFW Priority Habitats and Species management recommendations.

Table 18E.40.060. Buffer Requirements

Water Type (1)

Water Body Criteria

Buffer Width (2,4)

Type S1

Marine waters designated as Marine Shoreline Critical Salmon Habitat

100 feet landward from the OHWM

Type F1

All segments of natural waters within the bankfull widths of defined channels or within lakes, ponds, or impoundments which provide habitat for or support any portion of the lifecycle of a critical fish species (3). Waters that are diverted for use by federal, state, tribal, or private fish hatcheries shall be considered to be Type F1 waters upstream from the point of diversion for 1,500 feet and tributaries if highly significant for protection of downstream water quality.

150 feet landward from the OHWM

Type F2

Type F1 water adjacent to a landslide hazard area as set forth in Chapter 18E.80 PCC.

150 feet landward from the OHWM or the minimum buffer distance required in Chapter 18E.80 PCC, whichever is greatest

Type N1

Perennial or seasonal non-fish bearing (3) natural waters within the bankfull widths of defined channels that are not Type F1 or F2 waters but are located within ¼ mile of the confluence with a Type F1 or F2 water.

115 feet landward from the OHWM

Type N2

Perennial or seasonal non-fish bearing (3) natural waters within bankfull width of defined channels that are not Type F1 or F2 waters and are either located more than ¼ mile upstream from the confluence with a Type F1 or F2 water or are not connected to a Type F1 or F2 water.

65 feet landward from the OHWM

Type N3

Lakes or ponds that do not support any critical fish species (3)

35 feet landward from the OHWM

(1)    Water types are approximately based on the following: Type F1 (Type 1-3, Type 4 if greater than 2 feet and less than 20 percent grade unless documented as non-fish bearing by Federal or State agencies or Tribes), Type N1 (Type 4 if less than 2 feet and greater than 20 percent grade unless documented as fish bearing by Federal or State agencies or Tribes), Type N2 (Type 5 waters and those waters not connected to another water type). The new nomenclature anticipates the new classification system established in WAC 222-16-030 and 031. Water types are mapped in the Pierce County Critical Areas Atlas: Fish and Wildlife Habitat Areas-Stream Typing Maps and Fish and Wildlife Habitat Areas-Critical Fish Presence Maps.

(2)    There may be wetlands associated with water types that are regulated and which may have a required buffer greater than those listed in Table 18E.40.060, e.g., a lake with a 35-foot buffer requirement may have associated wetlands with 25-300 foot buffers.

(3)    Fish species are those identified in PCC 18E.40.020.

(4)    Lake Tapps and Spanaway Lake are not subject to the buffering requirements shown above in Table 18E.40.060 of this Chapter.

C.    Modification to Buffer Width Requirements. The standard buffer widths of PCC 18E.40.060 B. may be modified by averaging or increasing as follows:

1.    Buffer Averaging. Buffer width averaging may be proposed through submittal of a habitat assessment study or report. Buffer width averaging shall be allowed only when the applicant demonstrates all of the following:

a.    The decrease in buffer width is minimized by limiting the degree or magnitude of the regulated activity.

b.    Buffer averaging will not adversely impact the water body.

c.    Buffer averaging is consistent with other buffer requirements set forth under this Title (e.g., wetlands, critical fish and wildlife species and habitats, landslide hazard areas, etc.).

d.    Buffer averaging will not increase the risk of slope failure or downslope stormwater drainage impacts.

e.    The total buffer area after averaging is no less than the buffer area prior to the averaging. (Refer to Figure 18E.40-6 in Chapter 18E.120 PCC.)

f.    The minimum buffer width after averaging will not be less than 50 percent of the widths established in subsection 18E.40.060 B.

g.    The averaging is accomplished within the project boundaries or through an off-site conservation easement or tract (or other acceptable protective mechanism) approved by the Department.

h.    The applicant demonstrates one or more of the following conditions:

(1)    The proposed buffer area contains a diversity of native vegetation distributed within at least two stratum (i.e., groundcover, shrub, sapling, tree); or

(2)    The project includes a buffer enhancement plan as part of the mitigation required by PCC 18E.40.050. The buffer enhancement plan shall use plant species, which are native and non-invasive to the project area. The plan must substantiate that the enhanced buffer will improve the functional attributes of the buffer to provide additional protection for habitat functional values.

2.    Buffer Reduction. Buffer width reduction may be proposed through submittal of a habitat assessment study or report. Buffer width reduction shall be allowed only when the applicant demonstrates all of the following:

a.    Buffer reduction is unavoidable.

b.    Buffer reduction has been minimized by limiting the degree or magnitude of the regulated activity.

c.    Buffer reduction is consistent with other buffer requirements set forth under this Title (e.g., wetlands, critical fish and wildlife species and habitats, landslide hazard areas, etc.)

d.    Buffer reduction will not adversely impact the water body.

e.    The buffer width will not be reduced more than 25 percent below the provisions of subsection 18E.40.060 B.

f.    The buffer meets the requirements of PCC 18E.40.060 D., or

g.    A buffer enhancement plan is provided as required by PCC 18E.40.050. The buffer enhancement plan shall use plant species, which are native and non-invasive to the project area. The plan must substantiate that the enhanced buffer will improve the functional attributes of the buffer to provide additional protection for habitat functional values.

h.    The buffer has less than 15 percent slopes.

3.    Buffer Width Increases. The Department may require an increased buffer width when a larger buffer is necessary, based on site conditions, to protect habitat area functions and values. This determination shall be reasonably related to protection of the functions and values of the regulated habitat area. Such determination shall demonstrate any of the following:

a.    A larger buffer is necessary to maintain viable populations of existing species or protect the existing functions of habitat areas identified in PCC 18E.40.020.

b.    The adjacent land has minimal vegetative cover.

c.    The adjacent land has slopes greater than 20 percent.

d.    The habitat area is in an area of high tree blow down potential. In these cases the habitat area may be expanded an additional 50 feet on the windward side.

4.    Where an application for a development permit, other than a site development permit, has not been submitted in association with a proposed forest practice activity, a deviation from the standard buffer, as set forth in PCC 18E.40.060 C.1. and C.2. shall not be allowed.

5.    Buffer Reduction – Lakes. The standard buffer within a vacant lot along a lake may be reduced as follows:

a.    Where the vacant lot has a common property line with two or more lots which abut the ordinary high water line and which are developed with single-family residences, the standard buffer may be reduced to the greater of 50 feet or the average of the standard buffer and the setbacks of the residences on the adjacent properties. This reduction does not apply where the criteria of PCC 18E.40.060 C.3. apply.

b.    Any water dependent accessory use may be allowed within the reduced buffer upon the issuance of a Conditional Use Permit. The issuance of a Conditional Use Permit shall be predicated upon a determination that the project will be consistent with the Conditional Use criteria in this Section, and the Conditional Use criteria listed in WAC 173-14-140, if applicable, and will cause no reasonable adverse effects on the environment and other uses. The Conditional Use Criteria area:

(1)    Views from surrounding properties will not be unduly impaired.

(2)    Adequate separation will be maintained between the structure and adjacent properties and structures.

(3)    Screening and/or vegetation will be provided to the extent necessary to ensure aesthetic quality using approved native and drought tolerant vegetation.

(4)    Design and construction materials shall blend with the surrounding environment.

(5)    No additional harm to the aquatic environment will result from the project.

D.    Buffer Functioning Condition.

1.    General Buffer Requirements.

a.    Buffers should be adequately vegetated with native, non-invasive plant and tree species necessary to help provide long term protection of identified habitat areas. The Department may require mitigation and the submittal of a buffer enhancement plan, as outlined in PCC 18E.40.050 C., for buffer areas where the vegetation is inadequate to provide this function.

E.    Protection of Significant Trees within the Buffer. If buffer width averaging or reduction is utilized or buffers are otherwise reduced through a variance process and significant trees are identified on the outer edge of the reduced buffer such that their drip line extends beyond the buffer edge, the following tree protection requirements must be followed:

1.    A tree protection area shall be designed to protect each tree or tree stand during site development and construction. Tree protection areas may vary widely in shape, but must extend a minimum of 5 feet beyond the existing tree canopy area along the outer edge of the dripline of the tree(s), unless otherwise approved by the Department.

2.    Tree protection areas shall be added and clearly labeled on all applicable site development and construction drawings, submitted to the Department.

3.    Temporary construction fencing at least 30 inches tall shall be erected around the perimeter of the tree protection areas prior to the initiation of any clearing or grading. The fencing shall be posted with signage clearly identifying the tree protection area. The fencing shall remain in place through site development and construction.

4.    No clearing, grading, filling or other development activities shall occur within the tree protection area, except where approved in advance by the Department and shown on the approved plans for the proposal.

5.    No vehicles, construction materials, fuel, or other materials shall be placed in tree protection areas. Movement of any vehicles within tree protection areas shall be prohibited.

6.    No nails, rope, cable, signs, or fencing shall be attached to any tree proposed for retention.

7.    The Department may approve the use of alternate tree protection techniques if an equal or greater level of protection will be provided.

(Ord. 2018-68s § 4 (part), 2018; Ord. 2006-103s § 2 (part), 2006; Ord. 2005-80s § 3 (part), 2005; Ord. 2004-56s § 4 (part), 2004)

18E.40.070 Appendices. Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

A.    Habitat Assessment Letters.

B.    Habitat Assessment Studies.

C.    Habitat Assessment Reports.

D.    Monitoring Requirements.

E.    Wildfire – Defensible Space Guidelines.

18E.40.070 – Appendix A
Habitat Assessment Letters

A.    The habitat assessment letter shall, at a minimum, include the following:

1.    The information required in PCC 18E.40.030 B.2.

2.    Documentation that the potential regulated habitat is not present. Discuss the habitat features or types that are available as compared to the habitat features that define the potential habitat. Describe why potential restoration measures would not be feasible.

3.    Documentation that potential species are not present. Note: a finding that a species is lacking based upon limited field investigation, occurring at an inappropriate time of the year for the species of study will not be acceptable. In such cases, the County will require separate confirmation of absence provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

(Ord. 2004-56s § 4 (part), 2004)

18E.40.070 – Appendix B Habitat
Assessment Studies

A.    The habitat assessment study shall, at a minimum, include the following:

1.    The information required in PCC 18E.40.030 B.2.

2.    Identify the presence of the habitat area or species on the site.

3.    Identify and discuss how the project complies with the standards set forth in PCC 18E.40.040.

4.    Provide a detailed description of the proposed project. At a minimum, the following items should be included:

a.    A legal description (Section, Township, Range) and vicinity map that clearly show the site and project area in relation to nearby waterbodies, sensitive habitats, etc.

b.    A site plan of the habitat area and associated buffer in relation to the proposed project area. If the applicant proposes to reduce a standard buffer, the site plan shall identify all significant trees adjacent to the reduced buffer.

c.    Photographs, especially color copies, are useful to orient the reviewer to the project area. A combination of aerial or orthophotos and snapshots are ideal.

5.    Describe the environmental baseline (current or pre-project) condition of the habitat and the project area. The baseline description should address all pertinent habitat parameters for the species.

6.    Describe in detail the type and scope of development activity proposed:

a.    Describe the overall purpose of the project and a brief summary of project objectives.

b.    List all proposed project related construction activities and types of equipment. Provide a chronology of activities, timing of construction, hours of operation, phasing.

c.    Provide to-scale plans that show where work is proposed relative to habitat areas and buffers.

d.    Quantify areas of vegetation removal, include clearing and grubbing, vegetation type.

e.    Describe proposed grading and filling or other earthwork, include specific BMPs for erosion, sedimentation, stormwater, and spill control. If appropriate, append the TESC Plan, Spill Control Plan, BMP specifications, etc.

f.    Provide stormwater treatment information including:

(1)    Amount of new impervious surface;

(2)    Percent of surface and type of treatment for new and existing impervious surface;

(3)    Specify BMPs to treat for quality and quantity; and

(4)    Identify the receiving area /waterbody for each BMP, including overflow channels.

g.    If buffer averaging or reduction is proposed for use, and significant trees are identified on the outer edge of the reduced buffer such that their drip line extends beyond the buffer edge, the tree protection measures described in PCC 18E.40.060 are to be implemented.

(Ord. 2004-56s § 4 (part), 2004)

18E.40.070 – Appendix C
Habitat Assessment Reports

A.    The applicant is advised to refer to the following guidance documents during the course of the habitat assessment report (HAR) preparation:

1.    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Priority Habitat and Species Management Recommendations, May 1991 (or as hereafter amended), and supplemental documents including but not limited to:

a.    Priority Habitats and Species List;

b.    Management Recommendations for Washington's Priority Habitats: Oregon White Oak Woodlands;

c.    Management Recommendations for Washington's Priority Habitats: Volume I Invertebrates; and

d.    Management Recommendations for Washington's Priority Habitats: Volume III Amphibians and Reptiles.

2.    Making Endangered Species Act Determinations of Effect for Individual or Grouped Actions at the Watershed Scale (NMFS, 1996).

3.    A Guide to Biological Assessments (NMFS, revised March 23, 1999).

4.    Biological Assessment Preparation and Review (USFWS, March 1999).

5.    NMFS Checklist for Documenting Environmental Baseline and Effects of Proposed Action(s) on Relevant Indicators.

6.    Stream Survey Report Criteria, King County Department of Development and Environmental Services.

B.    The following information must be included in every habitat assessment report:

1.    Project Description. Describe in detail the type and scope of action proposed:

a.    Describe the overall purpose of the project and a brief summary of project objectives.

b.    List all proposed project related construction activities and types of equipment.

c.    Provide to-scale plans that show where work is proposed relative to sensitive areas and/or habitat. If the applicant proposes to reduce a standard buffer, the site plan shall identify all significant trees adjacent to the reduced buffer.

d.    Quantify areas of vegetation removal, include clearing and grubbing, vegetation type, replanting plans.

e.    Provide a chronology of activities, timing of construction, phasing.

f.    Describe proposed grading and filling or other earthwork, include specific BMPs for erosion, sedimentation, stormwater, and spill control. If appropriate, append the TESC Plan, Spill Control Plan, BMP specifications, etc.

g.    Provide stormwater treatment information including:

(1)    Amount of new impervious surface;

(2)    Percent of surface and type of treatment for new and existing impervious surface;

(3)    Specify BMPs to treat for quality and quantity;

(4)    Identify the receiving area /waterbody for each BMP, including overflow channels.

h.    Describe proposed in-water work (below OHWM or extreme high tide) and work over waterbodies, and potential for impacts to riparian or aquatic vegetation. Include conditions and work windows as described in the WDFW Hydraulic Project Approval. State clearly if the project does not include any in-water or over water work.

2.    Description of the Project Area. The following items should be addressed as appropriate:

a.    Provide a legal description (Section, Township, Range) and vicinity map that clearly shows the project in relation to nearby waterbodies, sensitive habitats, etc.

b.    Date of field review(s) of project, credentials of personnel involved, and results of visit(s).

c.    Describe the environmental baseline (current or pre-project) condition of the habitat and the project area. The baseline description should address all pertinent habitat parameters for the species.

d.    If buffer averaging is proposed for use, and significant trees are identified on the outer edge of the reduced buffer such that their drip line extends beyond the buffer edge, the tree protection measures described in PCC 18E.40.060 are to be implemented.

e.    Describe the project setting in terms of physiographic region, general topography, dominant habitat and vegetation type(s), aquatic resources, land use patterns, and existing disturbance levels from human activities, roadways, etc.

f.    Include information about past and present activities in the area that relate to the species or its habitat and/or the proposed action. This could include information on adjacent development projects, past consultations with State or Federal agencies, previously established conservation measures, or species management plans.

3.    Regulated Fish and Wildlife Species and Habitat Conservation Area Occurrence. The HAR must be based on current site-specific information about the species and its life history. Cite any relevant scientific literature or research findings. At a minimum, the following items should be addressed:

a.    Cite species listings provided by NMFS, WDFW, and/or USFWS. Append a copy of the listing to the report. Species listings should be updated every six months.

(1)    Identify any State-listed, Federal or State proposed species (and candidate or species of concern if appropriate), and designated or proposed critical habitat that are known or have the potential to occur on site or in the vicinity of the project area.

(2)    Identify fish by ESU.

b.    Describe the species, its habitat requirements and ecology in general, and relate that to the local populations. A lengthy life history is not required, but enough information should be provided to adequately explain the potential impacts.

c.    Describe the potential suitable habitat for the species found on site or in the project vicinity and how local populations use it. Discuss the local status of the species as appropriate. Determine the likely level and type of use of the area by each species.

4.    Analysis of Effects on Listed and Proposed Species and Designated and Proposed Habitat. The HAR should provide a thorough analysis of (and a separate Section addressing) the potential direct, indirect, interrelated and interdependent, and cumulative effects of the action on the regulated species and its habitat within the project area. The following items should be addressed:

a.    Define the project area (area of potential impacts, both indirect and direct). The area of impact is usually larger than the project area or project vicinity (i.e., the river upstream and downstream from a bridge project, waterbodies receiving stormwater).

b.    Describe how the environmental baseline (current or pre-project condition of the habitat in the project area) will be degraded, maintained or improved (restored). If appropriate, append the completed NMFS Checklist for Documenting Environmental Baseline and Effects of Proposed Action(s) on Relevant Indicators.

c.    Direct Effects: Describe and analyze the effects of the action that would directly affect the species. Include actions that would potentially remove or destroy habitat, displace or otherwise influence the species, either positively (beneficial effects) or negatively (adverse effects).

d.    Describe potential for impacts from disturbance (i.e., noise above ambient levels, sudden loud noises, increased human activity), from construction and continuing operation. Construction impacts would be considered a direct effect whereas operation noise impacts could be considered indirect effects as they occur later in time.

e.    Indirect Effects: Describe any potential indirect impacts (those that occur later in time) such as impacts to future food resources or foraging areas, and impacts from increased long-term human access.

f.    Interrelated/Interdependent Effects: Describe and analyze any potential effects from interdependent actions (actions that have no independent utility apart from the primary action) and interrelated actions (actions associated with the primary action and dependent upon that action for their justification) on the species or habitat that would not occur if not for the proposed action. Examples of these two effects include site clearing activities associated with new home construction (an interdependent effect) and increases in light, noise, and glare that occur as a result of land division (an inter-related effect).

g.    Cumulative Effects: Identify to the extent possible those cumulative effects within the project area that are reasonably certain to occur.

h.    If species specific recovery plans or management plans have been established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, or National Marine Fisheries Service, address the project in terms of compliance and recommendations.

i.    For proposed species, analyze the potential for the project to jeopardize the continued existence of the species.

j.    The HAR must contain a distinct statement of the overall effect of the project on each species. It must also provide supporting evidence to justify the effect determination (for listed species) or jeopardy call (for proposed species). The determination must be consistent throughout and worded correctly. See attached NMFS or USFWS Guidance for specific wording for each status.

5.    Recommended Conservation Measures. The HAR should describe components of the project that may benefit or promote the recovery of listed species and are included as an integral part of the proposed project. These conservation (or mitigation) measures serve to minimize or compensate for project effects on the species under review. The following items should be addressed:

a.    Provide specific recommendations, as appropriate, to reduce or eliminate the adverse effects of the proposed activity. Potential measures include: timing restrictions for all or some of the activities; clearing limitations; avoidance of specific areas; special construction techniques; HPA conditions; replanting with native vegetation; potential of habitat enhancement (i.e., fish passage barrier removal); best management practices, etc.

b.    If applicable, append a copy of the HPA, specifications for BMPs, or other documentation to support the implementation of the conservation measure.

c.    Include a description of proposed monitoring of the species, its habitat, and mitigation effectiveness.

6.    Conclusions and Effect Determinations.

a.    Summarize the proposed project and objectives, and restate the listed species that may occur near the project and the expected level of use.

b.    State what conclusions regarding potential impacts to the species discussed can be supported from the information presented in the report. The following items should be addressed:

(1)    A finding of effect must be made for each identified fish and wildlife species or habitat area. For each, only one of the following finding of effect is acceptable:

•    No Effect: The appropriate finding to make when the direct or indirect impacts of a project will have no affect of any kind, negative or beneficial, upon a species or habitat area;

•    May Affect, Not Likely to Adversely Affect: The appropriate finding to make when the direct or indirect effects of a project are insignificant, discountable, or beneficial; or

•    Likely to Adversely Affect: The appropriate finding to make when the direct or indirect effects of a project may adversely impact a species or habitat area and the effects are not insignificant.

(2)    Findings of "no effect" or "may affect, not likely to adversely affect" may not be based upon the argument that species will be displaced to other suitable habitat or that (based upon a limited number of surveys) species are not known to occur. The failure to provide site-specific surveys at the appropriate time of the year for the species of study will result in the Department assuming a worst-case scenario in regards to project-related impacts.

c.    For any proposed species or proposed habitat discussed, the conclusions should indicate whether the proposed project is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the species (as in the entire species, not individual(s)), or adversely modify the proposed critical habitat.

7.    References and Appendices. Refer to all appropriate project documents, particularly if the assessment depends upon information located elsewhere (e.g., in an EIS). Applicants may consider providing the Department with copies of pertinent documents along with the HAR. At a minimum, the following items should be addressed:

a.    Provide citations for other information referred to in the HAR, such as current literature and personal contacts used in the assessment. Include name, affiliation, and date.

b.    Include as appropriate any photographs, survey methods, protocols, and results. Do not provide specific information regarding the exact location of State- or Federally-listed species within the HAR document. Federal and State restrictions exist regarding the release of such information.

(Ord. 2006-103s § 2 (part), 2006; Ord. 2004-56s § 4 (part), 2004)

18E.40.070 – Appendix D
Monitoring Requirements

A.    A contingency plan shall be established for compensation in the event the mitigation project is inadequate or fails. The contingency plan is to provide specific corrective measures for such common mitigation plan failings as plant mortality, vandalism, damage due to wildlife grazing, grading errors, and hydro-regime problems. A financial guarantee on a form acceptable to the County is required for the duration of the monitoring period, and the guarantee plus any accrued interest will be released by the County when the required mitigation and monitoring are completed. To determine the amount of the financial guarantee, an estimate shall be submitted to the County detailing the work to be accomplished and the cost thereof. The estimate shall be based on current costs. The County will review the estimate and, if acceptable, will establish the financial guarantee at 125 percent of the estimate to allow for inflation and administration expenses, should the County have to complete the project.

B.    Requirements of the monitoring program are as follows:

1.    Scientific procedures are to be used for establishing the success or failure of the project.

2.    Monitoring reports prepared by a fish or wildlife biologist are to be submitted for Department review. Monitoring reports generally will include discussions of wildlife utilization of the site, habitat structure establishment, water quality, and existing or potential degradation.

3.    Monitoring reports for mitigation projects specific to vegetative restoration or enhancement shall comply with the following:

a.    Monitor for a period of time appropriate to the nature of the project (single-family versus commercial) and the complexity of the mitigation project. The majority of monitoring programs will last a minimum of three years and are to be submitted according to the following schedule:

(1)    At completion of construction of mitigation project (as-built report);

(2)    Thirty days after completion;

(3)    Early in the first growing season after construction;

(4)    End of the first growing season after construction;

(5)    Twice the second year; and

(6)    Annually after the second year.

b.    Deviation from this schedule may be allowed based upon project specific conditions

4.    Monitoring reports for mitigation projects whose goals are other than vegetative restoration or enhancement are to be submitted to the Department for a period of time, and upon a schedule, appropriate for the species or habitat of concern. The specifics of such mitigation projects will be determined on a project by project basis.

C.    The County will require a Right of Entry Form, as set forth in PCC 18E.10.140 – Appendix C, be recorded that allows County staff access to the mitigation area through completion of the monitoring program.

D.    Failures in the mitigation project shall be corrected as required by the County, such as, but not limited to:

1.    Replace dead or undesirable vegetation with appropriate plantings.

2.    Repair damages caused by erosion, settling, or other geomorphological processes.

3.    If necessary, redesign mitigation project and implement the new design.

E.    Correction procedures shall be approved by the fish or wildlife biologist and the Department Director or designee.

(Ord. 2004-56s § 4 (part), 2004)

18E.40.070 – Appendix E
Wildfire – Defensible Space Guidelines

Brush Thinning Guidelines

Recommended brush thinning varies upon the slope of the ground and the height of the existing vegetation.

Slope of Ground

Recommended Spacing

Example

0 – 20%

2 X the height of the brush

Shrubs that are 3 feet high on average should be thinned to be 6 feet apart.

21 – 40%

4 X the height of the brush

41% +

6 X the height of the brush

Ladder Fuel Separation Guidelines

The recommended vertical separation distance between shrubs and adjacent trees is 3X the height of the shrub. As an example, if shrubs 6 feet in height are located below a tree, it is recommended that the tree limbs be removed to a height of 18 feet.

Fire Resistant Plants

Tree

Shrub

Shrub

Ferns

Acer macrophylum

Acer circinatum

Ribes spp.

Adiantum pedatum

Alnus rubra

Arctostaphylos

uva-ursi

Rosa spp.

Athyrium felix-femina

Betula ssp.

Amelanchier alnifolia

Sambucus racemosa

Blechnum spicant

Cornus spp.

Cladothamnus pyrolif

Sheperdia Canadensis

Cystopteris fragilis

Fraxinus latifolia

Ceanothus velutinous

Sorbus sitchensis

Dryopteris expansa

Malus spp.

Ceanothus sanguineus

Vaccinium spp.

Gymnocarpium dryopteris

Populus spp.

Cornus stolonifera

Viburnum edule

Polypodium glycyrrhiza

Prunus spp.

Corylus cornuta

Rhamnus purshiana

Polystichum munitum

Quercus spp.

Crataegus douglasii

Rhododendron spp.

Thelypteris phegopteris

Salix spp.

Gaultheria shallon

Menziesia ferruginea

Gaultheria ovatifolia

Myrica gale

Holodiscus discolor

Oemleria cerasiformis

Linnaea borealis

Oplopanax horridus

Lonicera ciliosa

Pachistima myrsinites

Lonicera involucrata

Philadelphus spp.

Mahonia spp.

(Ord. 2009-18s3 § 4 (part), 2009)