Fish AND WILDLIFE habitat CONSERVATION AREAs UPDATE


Planning and Community Development is reviewing and updating the Island County Comprehensive Plan and development regulations for Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas. The Growth Management Act (RCW 36.70A) requires Island County to address land use issues that directly and indirectly impact fish and wildlife habitat.  Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas are designated to maintain species in suitable habitats within their natural geographic distribution so that isolated subpopulations are not created. 

Island County has outlined tasks associated with the Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas update. More information regarding these tasks can be found in the Public Participation Plan and Preliminary Schedule posted below. As each task is completed, work products and materials associated with the task will be posted on the website. Planning and Community Development welcomes and encourages public participation throughout this process.  Please contact us if you would like to receive email notification about meetings or new materials related to the review and update of the Island County Comprehensive Plan and development regulations.

 

Task 1: Establish a Preliminary Scope of Work and Public Participation Plan:

Planning and Community Development created a Public Participation Plan and preliminary scope of work that identifies outreach strategies and opportunities for public participation during the Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas update process.  The preliminary scope of work indicates when important steps will occur to ensure the public has adequate time to comment.  Materials associated with the Public Participation Plan will be posted below when completed:

Final Public Participation Plan -As approved by the Board of County Commissioners following a Public Hearing (10-28-13)

Ordinance C-96-13: Establishing a Public Particiaption Plan and Preliminary Schedule for the Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas Update - As approved by the Board of County Commissioners (10-28-13)

Findings of Fact - As recommended by the Planning Commission (9-24-13)                                           

Public Participation Plan - As recommended by the Planning Commission (9-24-13)  

Draft Public Participation Plan - As considered by the Planning Commission at a Public Hearing (9-10-13) - Meeting continued to 9/24/13

 

Task 2: Form and Collaborate with a Technical Advisory Group (TAG):

The technical advisory group will act as a peer review committee to ensure that the review of the Comprehensive Plan and development regulations for Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas is based on the best available scientific information.  The group will provide technical feedback on work products; such as methods of geospatial analysis, reports, and recommendations generated throughout the update process.

Technical Advisory Group Meetings

March 11, 2014 - meeting agenda

February 18, 2014 - meeting agenda and meeting summary

January 7, 2014 - meeting is cancelled

December 10, 2013 - meeting is cancelled

November 19, 2013 - meeting agenda

November 5, 2013 - meeting agenda and meeting summary

October 22, 2013 - meeting agenda and meeting summary

October 17, 2013 - meeting agenda and meeting summary

September 20, 2013 - meeting agenda and meeting summary

Click here to view TAG organizations

 

Task 3: Review of Best Available Science (BAS)

The final draft of the Best Available Science (BAS) Bibliography is attached below. The purpose of this document was to compile the relevant science that may be applicable to Island County’s FWHCA update. Not all of these resources will be referenced or incorporated into the Best Available Science Report and Recommendations (Task 4). Island County’s consultant, The Watershed Company, will draw from this pool of literature and select the references that are most relevant to the Island County and the FWHCA update. It is likely that as the FWHCA update continues, additional references will be identified.

BAS Bibliography Presentation: As presented to the Planning Commission (12/10/13)

BAS Bibliography Memorandum: As transmitted to the Planning Commission (12/10/13)

Final Draft BAS Bibliography (Excel file size: 312 KB)

 

Task 4: Assessment of Habitat Conditions

Information on the current condition of Fish and Wildlife Habitat in Island County will be gathered and compiled in a report. This process will utilize a watershed characterization model to provide information on terrestrial and aquatic habitat conditions. The watershed characterization model will be supplemented by site-specific information on water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. The consulting team will then utilize a spatial analysis process to rank sub-basin areas by importance and degradation. As a final step, a series of maps and a detailed report will be produced to inform the development of policies and regulations.

Note: Island County was unable to successfully utilize the watershed characterization model described above. Ultimately staff and the consulting team elected to use a more conventional process for analyzing existing fish and wildlife habitat conditions in Island County. As a result it was decided to include information on existing conditions in the BAS report (See Task 5 below) rather than producing a standalone document for this step. Memos from Island County staff and the consulting team have been attached below which explain this change.

Email from Project Manager to TAG members (12/18/13)

Technical Memorandum from Parametrix to Island County (12/11/2013)

 

Task 5: Best Available Science (BAS) Report and Recommendations

Using the information compiled during Task 3, Island County’s consulting team will produce a detailed Best Available Science (BAS) Report. This report will provide a summary of all relevant scientific information, an analysis of existing Fish and Wildlife Habitat conditions in Island County, and a preliminary outline of recommended policy and regulatory changes.

Best Available Science and Existing Conditions Report - As transmitted to the Planning Commission (3/25/14 and 4/8/14) and the Board of County Commissioners for work session discussion (4/16/14)

 

Task 6: Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas Policy and Regulation Revisions

PowerPoint Presentation - As presented to the Board of County Commissioners at work session (5/14/2104)

Draft Code Revisions to Chapter 17 ICC - As transmitted to the Planning Commission (3/25/14 and 4/8/14) and the Board of County Commissioners for work session discussion (4/16/14)

FWHCA Audit, Policy & Regulation Framework - As transmitted to the Planning Commission (3/25/14 and 4/8/14) and the Board of County Commissioners for work session discussion (4/16/14)

 

Task 7: SEPA Analysis and Public Review Period

Island County acted as the lead agency and determined that the proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and development regulations do not have a probable significant adverse impact on the environment.  Island County will consider public comments regarding the Determination of Nonsignificance until June 23, 2014.  Materials associated with the SEPA analysis are available below:

SEPA Checklist - As transmitted to the Department of Commerce (4-25-14)

SEPA Threshold Determination - As transmitted to the Department of Commerce (4-25-14)

 

Task 8: Final Adoption

The following documents were transmitted to the Island County Planning Commission or the Board of County Commissioners to support the adoption of updated policies and regulations for Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas:

 

Documents transmitted to the Board of County Commissioners prior to the work session on 6/18/14:

Memorandum to Planning Commission Chair dated 6/12/14

Signed Findings of Fact

Exhibit A - Amendments to the Comprehensive Plan

Exhibit B - New Island County Code 17.02B

Exhibit C - Code Implementation Changes

 

Documents transmitted to the Planning Commission prior to the Public Hearing on 6/10/14:

Memorandum dated 6/9/2014

 

Documents transmitted to the Planning Commission prior to the Public Hearing on 5/27/14 (hearing continued to 6/10/14):

Memorandum to the Planning Commission dated 5/23/14

A - Proposed County Code

B - Comprehensive Plan Changes

C - Findings of Fact

D- Implementation Changes

E- Prairie Habitat Memo

F - Public Comments

G- WSU Extension Comments

 

Documents transmitted to the Planning Commission prior to the Public Hearing on 5/13/14 (hearing continued to 5/27/14):

Memorandum to the Planning Commission dated 5/9/14

Exhibit 1: Proposed Code Changes

Exhibit 2: Proposed Code Changes with Substantive Amendments (changes are indicated in the document)

Exhibit 3 - Proposed Code Changes (clean copy)

Exhibit 4- Proposed Changes to the Comprehensive Plan (changes are indicated in the document)

Exhibit 5 - Public comments (submitted prior to 5/10/14)

Exhibit 6 - Sign-in sheets from Public Meetings

Exhibit 7 - Proposed Findings of Fact

 

Background Information: 

Planning and Community Development prepared the following presentation for the Island County Planning Commission:

Island County Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas Update (as presented to the Planning Commission on 8-27-13)

The following links provide more information about Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas:

Washington State Department of Commerce's overview of planning for the management of fish and wildlife habitat

Washington State Department of Commerce's overview on Critical Areas and Best Available Science

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife - Priority Habitats and Species

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife - Landscape Planning For Washington's Wildlife

 

Comments and Suggestions:

We welcome and encourage your comments and suggestions.  Island county will review and consider all written comments regarding specific planning documents or other issues concerning the review of the Comprehensive Plan and development regulations for Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas.  You can submit your comments by email at b.johnson@co.island.wa.us or mail your comments directly to:

Island County Planning & Community Development

PO Box 5000

Coupeville, WA 98239