On Tuesday, December 13, the Pierce County Council increased the area of marine shorelines protected from new pier and dock development on Pierce County marine shorelines by 52 miles with amendments to Pierce County’s shoreline development policies and regulations. The changes also include requirements for finfish and shellfish aquaculture for restoration purposes and a permit process for fencing within shoreline buffers and the Lake Tapps setback.
“The bill provides important protections to our shorelines and help in restoration efforts of finfish and shellfish,” said Council Chair Derek Young. “It has been years of work to get to this point, and I want to commend county staff and all of our partners who were involved in making it happen.”
Efforts to amend the county’s shoreline development policies and regulations began in 2019, when the Council adopted a supplemental budget that provided up to $50,000 to hire a consultant to conduct an analysis needed to support amendments to the Pierce County Code for increasing protection of Pierce County’s marine shorelines.
“Our partnership with the Nisqually and Puyallup Tribes on these amendments was important to the environmental protections we achieved for the county’s shorelines,” said Young. “Staff with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife were also involved in discussions.”
County Executive Bruce Dammeier facilitated a meeting with representatives from the Nisqually Tribe, Puyallup Tribe, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, and county staff on potential pier and dock restrictions. Both the Nisqually and Puyallup Indian Tribes provided valuable input that shaped the amendments made.
In addition to prohibiting new piers and docks in specific shoreline locations, the amendments
- Modify application requirements for finfish and shellfish aquaculture to help restore or enhance native stocks.
- Allow fencing within shoreline buffers and the Lake Tapps Setback through a permit process.
- Update the County’s shoreline regulation for consistency with adopted critical area regulations within shoreline jurisdiction.
Bryan Dominique, Communications Manager
Office of the Pierce County Council