Shoreline Master Program

What is a Shoreline Master Program?

A Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is a locally developed combination of policies and regulations that guide the development of shorelines in accordance with the State Shoreline Management Act (RCW 90.58). SMP goals include encouraging appropriate development, environmental protection, and preserving and enhancing public access on public lands. 

The most recent version of the Adams County SMP went into effect on April 28, 2016. The County’s SMP is available at the following two links:

A Reader’s Guide has been prepared to help users understand and apply the SMP, and can be found at the following link:

What are Shorelines?

Shorelines are special waterbodies that meet certain size criteria under the Shoreline Management Act, and adjacent uplands. They specifically include lakes greater than 20 acres and streams with a mean annual flow greater than 20 cubic feet per second, lands within 200 feet of the ordinary high water mark of such waterbodies, and associated wetlands. 

The following are shoreline waterbodies regulated under the County’s SMP:

 Alkali Lake/Pines Lake  Herman Lake  Para South Lake
 Black Lake  Hutchinson Lake  Pit Lakes
 Campbell Lake  Linda Lake   Rock Creek
 Cow Creek   Lower Crab Creek   Royal Lake
 Cow Lake  Morgan Lake   South Teal Lake
 Finnell Lake  Owl Lake   Sprague Lake
 Fourth of July Lake  Palm Lake   Thread Lake
 Green Lake  Palouse River  
 Hallin Lake  Para North Lake  

The County’s SMP contains goals, policies, regulations, and a shoreline environment designation map that guide the development of these shoreline areas.

Shoreline Web Map

A variety of shoreline-related information can be viewed via the Shoreline Web Map. Such information includes environment designations for the shorelines listed above. An environment designation system is used to classify the shoreline into "districts" where particular activities are preferred. The Shoreline Web Map can be accessed by clicking on the "LAUNCH" button below.                                              



How Might the SMP Affect Me?

The SMP may affect those property owners adjacent to shoreline waterbodies who wish to modify their shoreline area. The SMP applies to all proposed new uses and development occurring within shoreline jurisdiction. The SMP does not apply to certain activities that do not alter structures or properties, such as interior building changes or routine gardening. It also does not apply to legally established uses already on the land, such as existing agriculture. The SMP Reader's Guide (link provided above) includes additional information to help determine SMP applicability to activity on agricultural land. If you have a new project proposed within shoreline jurisdiction, it may require a shoreline permit and will need to be consistent with the policies and regulations of the SMP. Shoreline permit applications can be found under Planning Applications at the following link:

Shoreline Restoration Plan

As part of the update of the County’s SMP, a Shoreline Restoration Plan was developed. The Shoreline Restoration Plan represents a long-term vision for voluntary restoration that will be implemented over time, resulting in ongoing improvement to the functions and processes in the County’s shorelines. The plan can be used by property owners and other interest groups in several ways:

  • Information Resource: The plan identifies a number of organizations in Chapter 4, Existing and      Ongoing Plans and Programs, that provide guidance, and in some cases funding, for a wide variety of restoration projects. These organizations can be consulted by property owners or other parties wishing to undertake a restoration action. Some specific guidance materials are also listed in Chapter 8, Website Resources.
  • Grant Applications: Programs and projects (either specific or general) included in the plan may find it easier to obtain grant funding if the project is included in a publicly vetted and adopted plan.
  • Mitigation: In those circumstances where off-site mitigation may be necessary, the plan can provide a source of programmatic ideas or specific projects that maximize the effect of the mitigation regionally.

The plan is available at the following link: