(a) Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas include those with the following characteristics:
(i) Federally designated endangered, threatened and sensitive species. Areas with which federally designated endangered, threatened and sensitive species have a primary association. Federally designated endangered and threatened species are those fish and wildlife species identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service that are in danger of extinction or threatened to become endangered. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service should be consulted for current listing status.
(ii) State designated endangered, threatened and sensitive species. Areas with which state designated endangered, threatened and sensitive species have a primary association.
(iii) State designated endangered, threatened, and sensitive species are those fish and wildlife species native to the state of Washington identified by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife that are in danger of extinction, threatened to become endangered, vulnerable, or declining and are likely to become endangered or threatened in a significant portion of their range within the state without cooperative management or removal of threats. State designated endangered, threatened, and sensitive species are periodically recorded in WAC 232-12-014 (state endangered species) and WAC 232-12-011 (state threatened and sensitive species). The state Department of Fish and Wildlife maintains the most current listing and should be consulted for current listing status.
(iv) State priority habitats and areas associated with state priority species. Priority habitats and species are considered to be priorities for conservation and management. Priority species require protective measures for their perpetuation due to their population status, sensitivity to habitat alteration, and/or recreational, commercial, or tribal importance. Priority habitats are those habitat types or elements with unique or significant value to a diverse assemblage of species. A priority habitat may consist of a unique vegetation type or dominant plant species, a described successional stage, or a specific structural element. Priority habitats and species are identified by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
(v) Habitats and species of local importance. Habitats and species of local importance are those identified by the city, including but not limited to those habitats and species that, due to their population status or sensitivity to habitat manipulation, warrant protection. Habitats may include a seasonal range or habitat element with which a species has a primary association, and which, if altered, may reduce the likelihood that the species will maintain and reproduce over the long-term.
(vi) All areas within the city meeting the definition of one or more critical areas defined above are hereby designated critical areas and are subject to the provisions of this chapter.
(2) Development Standards.
(a) Flora (plant life) and fauna (animal life) identified as protected shall be sheltered from construction activities using best management practices.
(b) Habitat conservation areas and buffers will be left undisturbed, unless the development proposal demonstrates that impacts to the habitat conservation area and/or buffer are unavoidable, demonstrated in a habitat management and mitigation plan described in subsection (7) of this section.
(c) Critical area reports for fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas shall include a habitat assessment to evaluate the presence or absence of a potential critical species or habitat.
(d) The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife priority habitat and species management recommendations shall be consulted in developing specific measures to protect a specific project site.
(e) All projects shall comply with the applicable federal, state and local regulations regarding the species and habitats identified to be upon a site.
(f) Establishment of Buffers. When needed to protect the functions and values of habitat conservation areas, the shoreline administrator shall require the establishment of buffer areas for activities in or adjacent to such areas. Buffers shall consist of an undisturbed area of native vegetation, or areas identified for restoration. Buffer widths shall reflect the sensitivity of the habitat and the intensity of activity proposed, and shall be consistent with the management recommendations issued by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
(g) As determined through the site-specific study, mitigation measures shall be implemented that maintain the baseline populations and reproduction rates for the particular species.
(h) As determined through the site-specific study, appropriate habitat conservation, management and monitoring plan(s) shall be developed and implemented, with any necessary surety to ensure compliance with such plan(s) being provided as described in this chapter.
(i) Habitat Conservation Areas.
(i) Development occurring within a 1,000-foot radius of a state or federal threatened, endangered, or sensitive species den, nesting, or breeding site, migration corridors or feeding areas of terrestrial species shall require a habitat management and mitigation plan.
(ii) Cliff, cave and talus slope habitats shall have at least a 50-foot buffer for safety and resource protection.
(iii) Bald Eagles. An approved bald eagle management plan by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife meeting the requirement and guidelines of the bald eagle protection rules, WAC 232-12-292, as amended, satisfies the requirements of a habitat management and/or mitigation plan.
(iv) Mule Deer Habitat. Habitat connectivity and migration corridors for mule deer shall be considered in habitat management and/or mitigation plans.
(v) Development in or over all surface waters shall require a habitat mitigation plan.
(vi) Riparian buffers for Banks Lake and Osborn Bay in the city are provided in Table 16.20.210(1), Shoreline Development Standards.
(3) Administrative Buffer Width Averaging.
(a) The required buffer widths established in this SMP may be modified by the shoreline administrator for a development on existing legal lots of record in place at the time of adoption of this program, in accordance with the provisions of this section only where the applicant demonstrates all of the following:
(i) Averaging is necessary to avoid an extraordinary hardship to the applicant caused by circumstances peculiar to the property;
(ii) The designated buffer area contains variations in sensitivity to ecological impacts due to existing physical characteristics or the character of the buffer varies in slope, soils, or vegetation;
(iii) The total area contained within the buffer after averaging is no less than that contained within the standard buffer prior to averaging;
(iv) The minimum buffer width at its narrowest point shall not be less than 35 percent of the buffer width established under this SMP; and
(v) The buffer width averaging does not result in a net loss of ecological function.
(4) Shoreline Buffer Reductions. Shoreline buffers may be administratively modified where a legally established road or other type of continuous development crosses or extends along a shoreline or critical area buffer and is wider than 20 feet. The shoreline administrator may approve a modification of the minimum required buffer width to the waterward edge of the improved continuous development provided the upland side of the continuous development areas outlined below:
(a) Does not provide additional protection of the shoreline water body or stream; and
(b) Provides little (less than 20 percent) to no biological, geological or hydrological buffer functions relating to the riparian and upland portions of the buffer.
(5) Standard Buffer Reduction. Reductions of up to 35 percent of the standard buffer may be approved if the applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the shoreline administrator that a mitigation plan developed by a qualified professional pursuant to ECMC 16.20.520(6) indicates that enhancing the buffer (by removing invasive plants or impervious surfaces, planting native vegetation, installing habitat features or other means) will result in a reduced buffer that functions at a higher level than the existing standard buffer.
(6) In-Fill Development. In an effort to facilitate in-fill development in approved plats, the county may approve requests to reduce the standard shoreline buffers up to a maximum of 50 percent for a new single-family residence and appurtenant structures in accordance with the following criteria:
(a) Where there are single-family residences within 150 feet on either side of the proposed residence in an existing plat, the buffer shall be determined as the greater of one of the following three options: (i) a common line drawn between the nearest corners of the nearest residence, (ii) a common line calculated by the average of the nearest residence’s existing buffer, or (iii) a 50 percent reduction of the standard buffer.
(b) Where there is only a residence located within 150 feet on one side of the proposed residence in an existing plat, the standard buffer shall be determined as the greater of a common line drawn between nearest corner of the nearest residence and the nearest point of the standard buffer on the adjacent vacant lot, a common line calculated by the average of the nearest residence’s setback and the standard buffer for the adjacent vacant lot, or a 50 percent reduction of the standard buffer.
(7) Fish/Wildlife Habitat Management and Mitigation Plan.
(a) A fish/wildlife habitat management and mitigation plan shall be prepared by a qualified professional biologist who is knowledgeable of fish and wildlife habitat within North Central Washington.
(b) In determining the extent and type of mitigation appropriate for the development, the plan shall evaluate the ecological processes that affect and influence critical area structure and function within the watershed or sub-basin; the individual and cumulative effects of the action upon the functions of the critical area and associated watershed; and note observed or predicted trends regarding specific wetland types in the watershed, in light of natural and human processes.
(c) The fish/wildlife habitat management and mitigation plan shall demonstrate, when implemented, no net loss of ecological functions of the habitat conservation area and buffer.
(d) The fish/wildlife habitat management and mitigation plan shall identify how impacts from the proposed project shall be mitigated, as well as the necessary monitoring and contingency actions for the continued maintenance of the habitat conservation area and any associated buffer.
(e) Mitigation for development may include a sequenced combination of the mitigation measures included in ECMC 16.20.510, General performance standards, as needed to achieve the most effective protection or compensatory mitigation for critical area functions.
(f) Mitigation Ratios.
(i) Mitigation ratios shall be used when impacts to riparian areas, aquatic habitat, and riparian buffers are unavoidable. Compensatory mitigation shall restore, create, rehabilitate or enhance equivalent or greater ecological functions. Mitigation shall be located on site unless the biologist can demonstrate, and the city approves, that on-site mitigation will result in a net loss of ecological functions. If off-site mitigation measures are determined to be appropriate, off-site mitigation shall be located in the same watershed as the development within city.
(ii) The on-site mitigation ratio shall be at a minimum area replacement ratio of 1:1 for development within aquatic habitat, riparian areas and riparian buffers. An area replacement ratio of 2:1 shall apply to native vegetation removal within these areas. Mitigation for diverse, high quality habitat or off-site mitigation may require a higher level of mitigation. Mitigation and management plans shall evaluate the need for a higher mitigation ratio on a site-by-site basis, dependent upon the ecological functions and values provided by the habitat. Recommendations by resource agencies in evaluating appropriate mitigation shall be encouraged. (Ord. 484 § 2, 2014)