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Shoreline Management Program 



The Shoreline Management Act (SMA) requires each city and county to review, and, if necessary, revise their Shoreline Management Program (SMP) at least once every eight years. The legislature set a schedule that requires the City of Ferndale to complete this review by June 30, 2021.

Periodic Review requires the City to demonstrate that its SMP is consistent with:

1. All of the changes to shoreline laws (Chapter 90.58 RCW) and guidelines (Chapter 173-26 WAC) that have been adopted by the state since the City’s last SMP Update in 2006 & 2017; and the City’s Comprehensive Plan and development regulations adopted under the Growth Management Act (Chapter 36.70A RCW), if applicable, and other local requirements.

2. The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is regulated by the Washington State Department of Ecology.  The existing version was written between 2000 and 2006, though it was not adopted by Ecology until 2010. A minor update to the Critical Areas portion was revised in May 2017 in order to comply with the City’s Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) update. The City is required to conduct a periodic review of its SMP to comply with State guidelines by the June 2020. The SMP must include certain regulatory provisions. Ferndale’s shoreline jurisdiction includes not only both the east and west bank of the Nooksack River, but several creeks and streams – and, per statute, wetlands that are hydrologically associated with the 100-year FEMA floodplain of the Nooksack River.  The primary role of the SMP is to protect the physical shoreline as well as the ecological and habitat values of the shoreline.  The SMP also seeks to protect the public’s interest in the shoreline, such as by preventing a very few private interests from acquiring the full shoreline and preventing public access to, or enjoyment of, the shoreline area. The SMP was adopted some time ago, and Staff believes that there are opportunities to update the document, and to simplify it.

In response to this mandate, the City of Ferndale Community Development Department will begin researching all of the changes made to shoreline laws and guidelines that have been adopted by the state over the last ten years. The City will then identify which of these “state-initiated” changes created an inconsistency in City code.

Part of periodic review also encourages local governments to review their SMPs to reflect changing local circumstances, new information or improved data.

In addition to the proposed code amendments, the City will also review the shoreline maps identifying shoreline jurisdictions in the City of Ferndale. Based on improved data, natural changes and changes in jurisdiction, the City of Ferndale staff will identify changes to these maps (if applicable) since adoption in 2006.

Both state- and local-initiated code amendments, as well as updates to shoreline maps, will be included as part of the scope of 2021 SMP Periodic Review.

Community Outreach

Future Planning Commission and City Council meetings will serve to provide general information about the project, increase understanding about requirements for periodic review, answer questions, obtain input from the public, and highlight the tentative schedule for consideration of the proposed changes. See “proposed timeline” below for draft changes.

Process for Adopting Changes

Any proposed changes to the county’s SMP will require a public hearing before the City of Ferndale Planning Commission, the City of Ferndale County Council and the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Prior to the public hearings, City of Ferndale staff will provide planning commissioners, council members and Ecology officials with briefings on the project. The public is welcome to provide testimony at public hearings which will be announced on this website.

SHORELINE MASTER PROGRAM – The existing Shoreline Master Program and Supplemental Information is available here:

 Shoreline Master Program – Adopted May 2017

Shoreline Master Program Buffers Map

Program Appendix

Additional Program Information

Current SMP Text Changes


**See above for all Public Notices and/or meeting invites associated with the SMP process.

Planning Commission Process:

April 10, 2019 – Planning Commission introduction

Meeting Materials:   SMP Staff ReportPresentation  and SMP Public  Participation Plan Staff Report

February 10, 2021 – Public Hearing #1 – Introduction to Process/Code Changes

Meeting Materials:

March 10, 2021 – Workshop

Meeting Materials: SMP Staff Report

April 14, 2021 – Workshop

Meeting Materials:

May 12, 2021 – Workshop

Meeting Materials: 

June 16, 2021 – Public Hearing

Meeting Materials:

City Council Process:

June 16, 2021  – Council Committee Review 

Materials: To be provided by June 14th by 5 PM

June 21, 2021 – City Council Public Hearing

Materials: To be provided by June 18th by 5 PM


Contact Information:


Jori Burnett | Acting City of Ferndale Community Development Department | | 360-685-2367


Submit written comments related to the update to