Shoreline Master Program
The Sammamish River

Shoreline Master Programs (SMPs) are local land use policies and regulations that guide the use of Washington shorelines. SMPs apply to both public and private uses. They protect natural resources for future generations, provide for public access to public waters and shores, and plan for water-dependent uses.

Learn more by clicking on the questions below.

  • Why have a Shoreline Master Program?

    The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) was passed by the Washington Legislature in 1971 and adopted by voters in 1972 "to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state’s shorelines." The Act requires all counties and most towns and cities with shorelines to develop and implement Shoreline Master Programs.

  • How many shorelines are in the City of Redmond?

    There are four shorelines that fall within City of Redmond limits including Lake Sammamish, the Sammamish River, Bear Creek, and Evans Creek.

    View the Redmond Shoreline Environments Map

  • What does the “shoreline” include?

    The Lake Sammamish shoreline includes its underlying land, associated wetlands, all areas within the 100-year floodplain, and lands extending landward 200 feet from the ordinary high-water mark.

    The Sammamish River shoreline includes all lands extending landward 200 feet from the ordinary high-water mark.

    As for Bear Creek and Evans Creek, shorelines include locations where the mean annual flow is 20 cubic feet per second or greater, the land underlying the creek in those areas, and the associated wetlands. West of Avondale Road, it also includes lands extending landward 200 feet from the ordinary high-water mark. East of Avondale Road, the shoreline includes lands extending 200 feet from the ordinary high-water mark on the south side of the creeks. In addition, east of Avondale Road on the north side of the creek, the jurisdiction includes all lands extending landward 200 feet from the ordinary high-water mark plus the 100-year floodplain.

  • What are the basic policies of the Shoreline Management Act?

    There are three basic SMA policy areas: shoreline use, environmental protection, and public access.

    Shoreline Use – to control pollution and prevent damage to the natural environment.

    Environmental Protection - to protect shoreline natural resources including the land, vegetation, wildlife, and aquatic habitats against adverse environmental effects. All allowed uses are required to offset these impacts as much as possible and preserve the natural character and aesthetics of the shoreline.

    Public Access - SMPs include a public access element, including provisions for public access to publicly owned areas. The SMA also implements the common law Public Trust Doctrine. This doctrine conveys that the waters of the state are a public resource for the purposes of navigation, conducting commerce, fishing, recreation, and similar uses. The Public Trust Doctrine is not invalidated by private ownership of the underlying land.

  • What's the purpose of the Redmond Shoreline Master Program?

    To ensure no net loss of shoreline ecological functions;

    To protect the waters of the state and the fish and wildlife that depend on those waters from adverse impacts;

    To protect the public’s right to access and use the surface waters of the state;

    To protect the aesthetic qualities of the natural shorelines of the state to the greatest extent feasible consistent with the overall best interest of the state and the people generally;

    To design and carry out allowed uses in a manner that minimizes, as far as practical, damage to the ecology and environment of shoreline areas and the public’s right to access and use the shorelines where public lands and rights-of-way exist;

    To provide for the restoration of shorelines, which are among the state’s most valuable and fragile natural resources;

    To provide for the recovery of fish and wildlife that use the shorelines and that have been federally, or state listed endangered or threatened and that is practical to recover within Redmond;

    To encourage water-related, water-dependent, and residential uses of the shorelines that are in the best interest of the public;

    To prepare a concerted and coordinated plan for the shorelines, considering local, state, and federal interests to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state’s shorelines;

    To carry out the Shoreline Management Act, RCW Chapter 90.58, and implementing regulations adopted by the state;

    To help fulfill the City’s responsibilities under the Public Trust Doctrine; and

    To protect the rights of owners of properties within the shoreline jurisdiction.

  • How do we categorize Redmond's shorelines?

    Redmond’s shoreline jurisdiction is broken out into five distinct environments. These designations are applied to homogenous areas and include policies to guide the use and management of these areas.

    The Aquatic Environment designation aims to protect, restore and manage its unique characteristics by assuring compatibility between upland and aquatic uses and ensuring that shoreline ecological functions are protected and restored over time. These areas are designed to promote the wise use of natural features and resources of water areas that are substantially different in character from those of adjoining uplands.

    The Natural Environment designation’s intent is to preserve and restore those natural resource systems existing relatively free of human influence and those shoreline areas possessing characteristics intolerant of human use or unique historical, cultural, or educational features. These areas have severe restrictions on the intensities and types of uses permitted to maintain the integrity of the ecological functions and ecosystem-wide processes of the shoreline environment.

    The Urban Conservancy designation targets protecting and restoring historic ecological functions. The intent is to conserve and manage existing natural resources and valuable historic and cultural areas in order to achieve sustained resource use and provide recreational opportunities.

    The Shoreline Residential designation aims to accommodate residential development consistent with the protection and restoration of ecological functions.

    The High-Intensity/Multi-Use designation’s intent is to ensure optimum use of shorelines that are either presently urbanized or planned for intense urbanization while providing no net loss of existing ecological functions and restoring ecological functions in areas that have been previously degraded.

  • How often is the Shoreline Master Program updated?

    The Shoreline Management Act requires that a comprehensively updated Shoreline Master Program be periodically reviewed every eight years. The schedule to complete these reviews is established for every community in RCW 90.58.080(4). Redmond is included in the first round of periodic reviews, which must be completed on or before June 30, 2019. This review ensures the SMP stays current with changes in laws and rules, remains consistent with other Redmond plans and regulations, and is responsive to changed circumstances, new information, and improved data.

  • What is required of me?

    If you’re proposing to develop in these areas, be sure to check first with the City to determine if a Shoreline Exemption or Shoreline Substantial Development Permit will be required. Building docks or performing routine maintenance and repair on docks require permits. City staff is available to help navigate the permit process and assist with any questions you might have.

Updates & Announcements:

Planning Commission recommends approval of proposed Shoreline Master Program Periodic Update at their February 20, 2019 meeting.

Contact:  Cathy Beam
425-556-2429 or

Proposed Shoreline Regulations

Proposed Critical Area Regulations