Grays Harbor County Adopts a Critical Areas Ordinance


Chapter: Seattle
State: WA
Country: USA
Theme: Ocean Protection
Completion Date: June 06 2010
Status: Victory

Grays Harbor County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a highly controversial Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) that establishes building regulations for shorelines, wetlands, aquifers, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, frequently flooded areas, and geologically hazardous areas. Surfrider Foundation members and activists from the Seattle and South Coast chapters have been working for two years to strengthen these regulations, submitting comments, publishing articles, and participating in facilitated meetings between diverse interest groups. Thanks to their hard work, to a community development and planning workshop Surfrider organized this winter, and to a lawsuit brought forward by a coalition of conservation organizations, the County finally adopted a CAO. The ordinance requires buffers between new development and critical areas that range from 60 – 300 feet in order to protect water quality, endangered species, and other ecosystem services.