Shoreline Master Program (SMP)

What is the Shoreline Master Program (SMP)?


Washington’s Shoreline Management Act (SMA; RCW 90.58) was passed by the State Legislature in 1971 and adopted by the public in a referendum. The SMA was created in response to a growing concern among residents of the state that serious and permanent damage was being done to shorelines by unplanned and uncoordinated development. The goal of the SMA was “to prevent the inherent harm in an uncoordinated and piecemeal development of the state’s shorelines.” While protecting shoreline resources by regulating development, the SMA is also intended to provide for appropriate shoreline use by encouraging land uses that enhance and conserve shoreline functions and values. The SMA has three broad policies:

  1. Encourage water-dependent and water-oriented uses: "uses shall be preferred which are consistent with control of pollution and prevention of damage to the natural environment, or are unique to or dependent upon use of the states' shorelines....”
  2. Promote public access: “the public’s opportunity to enjoy the physical and aesthetic qualities of natural shorelines of the state shall be preserved to the greatest extent feasible consistent with the overall best interest of the state and the people generally."
  3. Protect shoreline natural resources, including "...the land and its vegetation and wildlife, and the water of the state and their aquatic life...."

The intent of the Whitman County Shoreline Master Program is to ensure comprehensive planning for the County’s shorelines and to ensure the adoption and implementation of use regulations, together with maps, diagrams, charts, or other description material and text, a statement of desired goals, and standards developed in accordance with the policies adopted by the State. 

Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Periodic Update


Whitman County is undertaking a periodic review of its Shoreline Master Program (SMP), as required by the Washington State Shoreline Management Act (SMA), RCW 90.58.080(4). The SMA requires each SMP be reviewed and revised, if needed, on an eight-year schedule established by the Legislature. The review ensures the SMP stays current with changes in laws and rules, remains consistent with other Whitman County plans and regulations, and is responsive to changed circumstances, new information and improved data.

A Public Participation Plan is required to describe how Whitman County will encourage early and continuous public participation throughout the process of reviewing the SMP. This Public Participation Plan describes the steps that Whitman County will take to provide opportunities for public engagement and public comment.

This plan is in addition to any other minimum requirements for public participation required by Whitman County Code. This plan is a working document and will be adjusted as needed to provide for the greatest and broadest public participation. 

The purpose and intent behind the Whitman County’s Periodic Update to its Shoreline Master Program include the following:

  • Encourage reasonable and orderly development of shorelines, with an emphasis on water-dependent and related uses that control pollution and prevent damage to the natural environment.
  • Protect the natural character of Washington shorelines, including the land, vegetation, wildlife, and shoreline environment.
  • Promote public access and provide opportunities to enjoy views and recreational activities in shoreline areas.

For more information please see the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) Periodic Update 2022-2023 Timeline & Public Participation Plan.

Agendas & Minutes

Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.

Meeting for June 1, 2022 - Agenda Packet (PDF) & Minutes (PDF)

Additional Information