Planning Commission Review

The Planning Commission has completed its review of the draft Critical Areas Ordinance, Best Available Science Report (addendum to the 2005 BAS report), draft Findings of Fact, and Shoreline Management Plan (minor amendment to WCC 23.10.060(A)). Beginning in February, they held numerous workshops and two public hearings, the last occurring on June 9, 2016 (see schedule, below).

The Commission received a copy of the draft code containing proposed changes (including those they made during their review), a Best Available Science/Staff Report, and various staff memos. Additionally, they had access (via this website) to all the Best Available Science documents used and all the comments from the Citizens' Advisory Committee, Technical Advisory Committee, members of the public, and PDS staff that has been received. These are all found below.

The Planning Commission's recommendations (available below) have now be forwarded to the County Council for their review and final adoption.

Planning Commission Review Schedule

Please note that this schedule is subject to change.




Workshop on: Overview, Article 1 (Purpose), Article 5 (Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas), Article 5.5 Lummi Island, Article 9 (Definitions)


Workshop on: Article 2 (Administrative Provisions), Article 6 (Wetlands)


Workshop on: Article 6 (Wetlands), Article 3 (Geohazards)


Workshop on: Article 4 (Frequently Flooded Areas), Article 7 (Habitat Conservation Areas)


Workshop on: Article 3 (Geohazards), Article 8 (Conservation Program on Agriculture Lands)


Miscellaneous follow up and 1st Public Hearing

 6/9/16  2nd Public Hearing and Final Recommendation

Best Available Science Documents

Doc # Author Document Name
2 NMFS Endangered Species Act
3 DOE WSDOT Framework for Delineating Channel Migration Zones
4 Whatcom Co Erosion and Avulsion Hazard Mapping and Methodologies 
5 Marton Geographically Isolated Wetlands are Important Biogeochemical Reactors
6 USACE Advance Permittee-Responsible Mitigation
7 EPA Connectivity of Streams & Wetland to Downstream Waters
9 VanMeter & Basu Signatures of human impact: size distributions and spatial organization of wetlands
10 DOE Wetlands in Washington State: A Synthesis of the Science
11 DOE Wetlands in Washington State: Guidance fore Protecting and Managing Wetlands
12 DOE Making Mitigation Work
13 DOE Update on Wetland Buffers: State of the Science
14 DOE Western Washington Rating Summary of Wetlands
15 DOE Guidance on Widths of Buffers and Ratios for Compensatory Mitigation of Use with WRS
16 DOE Washington State Wetland Program Plan 2015 
17 Nelson Mapping Biodiversity in Whatcom County
22 HRCD Land Cover WDFW High Resolution Change Detection Project
25 Whatcom Co Whatcom County Significant Wildlife Areas
26 Haddad On Experimentation and the Study of Corridors
27 Noss-Beier Arguing Over Little Things: Response to Haddad
28 Rosenberg Integrating People and Wildlife for a Sustainable Future
29 Rosenberg Biological Corridors: Form, Function and Efficacy
30 ECONorthwest The Economic Value of Beaver Ecosystem Services
31 Pollock  Using Beaver Dams to Restore Incised Stream Ecosystems
32 Pollock  The Beaver Restoration Guidebook
33 Walker  Innovative Solution for Water Storage and Increased Late Summer Flows
34 FEMA Floodplain Habitat Assessment and Mitigation
35 Judge Qualitative Assessment of Implementation of the Puget Sound Chinook
36 Pentila Marine Forage Fishes in Puget Sound
37 Small Temporal and Spatial Genetic Structure Pacific Herring Populations
38 WDFW Land Use Planning for Salmon, Steelhead, Trout
39 WDFW 2012 2012 Washington State Herring Stock Status Report
40 Brennan Marine Riparian Vegetation Communities of Puget Sound
41 Cereghino Strategies for Nearshore Protection and Restoration in Puget Sound
42 Clancy Management Measures for Protecting and Restoring the Puget Sound Nearshore
43 Dethier Native Shellfish in Nearshore Ecosystems of Puget Sound
44 Finlayson Geomorphology of Puget Sound Beaches
45 Fresh Juvenile Pacific Salmon in Puget Sound
46 Fresh Guidance for Protection and Restoration of Nearshore Ecosystems
47 Fresh Implications of Observed Anthropogenic Changes to the Nearshore Ecosystems
48 Gelfenbaum Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound: Research Plan in Support of PSNP
49 Gleason Conservation Assessment of West Coast Estuaries
50 Goetz Guiding Restoration Principles
51 Greiner Principles for Strategic Conservation and Restoration
52 Johannessen & MacLennan Beaches and Bluffs of Puget Sound
53 Kriete Orcas in Puget Sound
55 Leschine & Petersen Valuing Puget Sound's Valued Ecosystem Components
56 Mumford Kelp and Eelgrass in Puget Sound
57 Schlenger Strategic Needs Assessment: Analysis of Nearshore Ecosystem Process Degradation
58 Shipman Geomorphic Classification of Puget Sound Nearshore Landforms
59 Simenstad Historical Change and Impairment of Puget Sound Shorelines
60 VanCleve Lessons Learned from Large-Scale Restoration Project Efforts in the USA
61 Bogan High Aquatic Biodiversity in Intermittent Coastal Headwater Stream
62 Lummi Nation  Nooksack River Estuary Habitat Assessment
63 US EPA Connectivity of Streams & Wetland to Downstream Waters
64 WDFW Landscape Planning for Washington's Wildlife
66 Bentrup Conservation Buffers
68 GMHB Whidbey Environmental Action Network v. Island County
69 NRCS NRCS Best Management Practices
70 Redding Nitrate Contamination in the Sumas-Blaine Aquifer
71 WEAN AG-CAO Letter Opinion
74 Bauer  Letter re: AG Uses in Island County

Comments Received

Member of: Name
CAC A. Borders
CAC K. Blystone
CAC L. Sachs
CAC R. Almskaar
CAC V. Watson
CAC W. Harris
CAC W. Kentch
TAC B. Rubash
TAC D. McShane
TAC J. Ingram
TAC K. Kuhlman
TAC O. Grah
TAC R. Ericson
TAC S. Meyer
TAC W. Steffensen
Public G. Boggs
Public Various
Staff A. Dearborn
Staff A. Wiser
Staff C. Elder
Staff C. Strong
Staff E. Page
Staff J. Thompson
Staff M. Kershner
Staff M. Mahaffie
Staff R. Ericson
Staff T. Bouma
Staff W. Fitch