Shoreline Jurisdiction

Basic Jurisdiction
The Shoreline Management Program (SMP) regulates all streams with a mean average flow of 20 cubic feet per second, all lakes over 20 acres in size, all marine shorelines, and all associated wetlands and floodways.

The program also has jurisdiction over all surface water and extends landward for 200 feet from the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) of the shoreline. Within these areas, all projects must be consistent with policies and goals of the Whatcom County SMP.
Whatcom County Shoreline Area Designations Map
Current Connections
Shoreline jurisdiction along the Nooksack and Sumas Rivers would be tied to the physical (geomorphic) floodway rather than the modeled FEMA floodway (existing SMP).

Additionally, an analysis of Whatcom County lakes using high-resolution aerial photography revealed Jorgensen Lake (26 surface acres) as a shoreline of the state as it exceeds the state-defined 20-acre threshold for shoreline jurisdiction. Also, based on a 1996 analysis of stream flow completed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) several minor adjustments are proposed to shoreline jurisdiction along streams in Whatcom County.

Other Agency Jurisdictions

Other Agencies that have jurisdictional control over shorelines may include:
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Department of Natural Resources
  • Environmental Protection Agency, and Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Lummi Indian Nation
  • Nooksack Tribe
  • United States Army Corps of Engineers
  • Washington State Department of Ecology