Shoreline Management Program Call to Action 

Friends of the White Salmon River is deeply concerned about the on-going update of the Klickitat County Shoreline Master Program, known as the SMP. The SMP, being updated at the insistence of Washington State for the first time since 1998, manages the uses of shorelines in the jurisdiction of the SMP. These are generally the larger creeks, rivers, and lakes, including the White Salmon river, the Klickitat river, and the Columbia river, and many tributary streams.

The SMP is not an environmental protection document, and in fact it is possible for the SMP to override and undo current environmental protections. FWSR is working to make sure that critical protections for salmon recovery are not negatively impacted.

Klickitat County refused funding from the Washington State Department of Ecology that would have required the county to meet certain standards for scientific and technical review, and for public participation.

FWSR, along with other groups, is urging Klickitat County to slow down the update process and to appoint a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC). You can help by writing a letter to the County requesting a TAC and a CAC. See below for a sample letter, or write your own. Be sure to say why you are concerned and how you will be affected if the shorelines are not protected.

FWSR also has a priority list of concerns. See this below, along with links to more information about the SMP generally and the Klickitat County proposal in particular.

Sample Letter to Klickitat County:

Please keep in mind that this is just a sample. You can pick and choose which of the options apply to you. If none of these options fit, or your concerns aren’t listed, add your own! Just remember to say why you are concerned and how you will be affected if the shorelines are not protected.


Mo-chi Lindblad                                                                                VIA email to:
Director                                                                                                VIA FAX to: 509-773- 6206
Klickitat County Planning Department
228 West Main Street, MS-CH- 17
Goldendale, Washington 98620

Lennard Jordan                                                                               VIA email to:
Shoreline Planner
Washington State Department of Ecology
1250 West Alder Street
Union Gap, Washington 98903-0009

RE: Klickitat County Shoreline Master Program Update

Dear Ms. Lindblad and Mr. Jordan:

I am concerned about the update of the Klickitat County Shoreline Master Program
(SMP) update because I (choose one or more or insert your own):

Live in the White Salmon River watershed and care deeply about the health of the
White Salmon River.

Work as a river guide or for a rafting company so my job and income depend on
preserving the health of the White Salmon River.

Appreciate the opportunity for restoration of wild salmon to the White Salmon
River, which is dependent on maintaining the good health of the White Salmon River.

While I appreciate the County’s efforts to invite public participation by posting relevant
documents on the website and holding two open houses, I believe the County needs to
take additional steps to increase public participation before moving to a formal
adoption process. Increased public participation will lead to a better SMP and it will also
go a long way to avoid a long process of appeals and legal actions, by working out widely
acceptable positions and policies at an early stage.

I would like to see the County provide more opportunity for meaningful public
participation and input by convening  a Citizens Advisory Committee. Public
involvement needs to include conversations among a variety of viewpoints, and I do not
feel that my (environmental / whitewater / ?????) views and concerns are adequately
represented in the County process.

The Shoreline Program will be more serviceable and effective if it incorporates all
available science. It does not currently do so, and the scientific review is best done by
convening a Technical Advisory Committee of local scientists.

Current drafts and documents do not do adequately address this issues of water-
dependent uses on the White Salmon (salmon restoration and whitewater use) or on
the Klickitat (preserving Native American fisheries and planning for whitewater uses). I
would like to see a better job of planning for water-dependent uses.

I strongly support maintaining the level of protection afforded by the Critical Areas
Ordinance for habitat, buffers, and wetlands. I strongly oppose weakening those
protections. This is something that can be discussed and evaluated by both a Citizens
Advisory Committee and a Technical Advisory Committee.

I support the development of a unique and specific Wild and Scenic Management
shoreline environment to apply to the relevant sections of the White Salmon and
Klickitat Rivers. This new environment should maintain and enforce the shoreline
protections offered by the Wild and Scenic Management Plans for these two rivers.

Thank you for your consideration of these comments.

Sincerely yours,

Friends of the White Salmon priorities for the Shoreline Management Plan update in Klickitat County

November 2017

  1. Provide more opportunity for meaningful public participation and input by convening  a Citizens Advisory Committee.
  2. Review and incorporate all available science, by convening a Technical Advisory Committee of local scientists.
  3. Protect critical habitat areas for salmon restoration.
  4.  Do a better job of planning for water-dependent uses, including whitewater recreation.
  5. Adopt Wild and Scenic Management plan shorelines protections. 

Many, many thanks to all those who attended our informational workshop about the Klickitat County SMP Update on 11/10/17! Here are the Powerpoint slides from our speakers:

Powerpoint Slides from Pat Arnold’s presentation

Powerpoint Slides from Pat Connolly’s presentation

A Guide to the Klickitat County Website:

Klickitat County Shorelines Program Update:  Draft Analysis Report
This is the Shoreline Analysis, or Inventory. Section 7 “Shoreline Management Recommendations” (starts on page 117) is the place to start if you are looking at this for the first time and are not a scientist. Look in particular for the discussion of the Critical Areas Ordinance and the SMP on page 121.  

Shorelines Program Update-Draft Analysis Report: Appendix A
This is the proposed shoreline jurisdiction narrative– or, where will the SMP apply?  There are criteria for shoreline jurisdiction, such as flow volume.  Present County proposal removes Rock Creek and some other shorelines currently included.  It also adds some that are not currently included.  The scientific data used by Klickitat County for these determinations should be reviewed by a local Technical Advisory Committee.

Gap Analysis drafted November 2016
This lists current Department of Ecology requirements (RCW) for SMP and indicates (on all points) whether the current SMP is consistent, partially consistent, or inconsistent with those requirements. A total of 47 pages. Many points not applicable to Klickitat County, but interesting reading anyway.

SMP Proposed Shorelines Environmental Designation (SED)
SED Changes Summary
These documents show the current and proposed Shoreline Environments.  This is one area where we expect to see the Planning Commission recommend changes for the worse, at least along the White Salmon river.

Klickitat County Annotated Working Draft SMP June 2017
This is the draft, updated, we believe to October 2017, which the Planning Commission is reviewing in the workshops. Substantial organizational changes have been made in the document, which makes it extremely hard to follow and even harder to see what has or has not changed from the prior version.  Nevertheless, the organizational changes are probably for the best in the long run.

Shoreline Restoration Plan (working draft)
The Shoreline Restoration Plan, a non-regulatory vision for voluntary restoration of shoreline ecological function.

Current Klickitat County Shorelines Master Plan (1996)


Klickitat County is currently in the process of updating the Shoreline Master Program.

Shoreline Master Programs (SMP) are shoreline specific, comprehensive plans designed to direct land use policies and regulations within designated shorelines in the state of Washington. SMPs are required under the 1972 Shoreline Management Act (SMA). 

The goal of the SMA is “to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state’s shorelines.” According to the SMA, all cities and counties with “shorelines of the state” must prepare and adopt a Shoreline Master Program– this includes Klickitat County.

There are three policy areas to the SMA:

  • Shoreline use – establishes the concept of preferred uses of shoreline areas, “uses shall be preferred which are consistent with control of pollution and prevention of damage to the natural environment…”
  • Environmental protection – intended to protect shoreline natural resources, including water, vegetation, wildlife and aquatic life
  • Public access – provisions for public access points to publicly owned areas, including the preservation and enlargement of recreational opportunities.

Useful Links: