News Flash

Department of Community Development News

Posted on: May 25, 2023

San Juan County Shares Draft Report of Shoreline Cumulative Effects Evaluation

News Flash_Community Development

SAN JUAN COUNTY, WA. May 25, 2023 – San Juan County is conducting a Cumulative Effects Evaluation of its shorelines for the Department of Ecology. A virtual public meeting to review the draft report is scheduled for Wednesday, June 7, 2023 from 6:30-7:30pm. Find meeting information, review the draft report, and provide feedback at:  

What are shoreline cumulative effects?

Shoreline cumulative effects are changes in coastal health resulting from humanSanJuanCountyMailer_Final development activities across a region. Development activity on a single property (clearing trees, constructing a boat ramp, etc.) may have localized effects that alter coastal habitat quality near that property. When many properties within a reach of shoreline are altered or developed, the cumulative effects of those actions on nearshore habitat health are greater than the impacts from altering a single property.

Why does San Juan County track shoreline cumulative effects? 

San Juan County has an obligation to protect the health and beauty of its shorelines for current and future generations. The study will be conducted every four years. By tracking and evaluating cumulative effects, San Juan County can identify opportunities to improve its existing shoreline development code.

What does this mean? 

The Cumulative Effects Evaluation is a scientific study of the relationship between permitted development and coastal ecosystem health. If you are a shoreline property owner, County staff or representatives may ask to access your coastal property in order to observe current conditions and evaluate habitat health during future iterations of this study. 

Property owners will have opportunities to give feedback on proposed changes to development codes and permitting processes. We’d like to hear more about your experience with the permitting process.

What if my property isn’t up to code?

This study is not tied to code enforcement. Documenting and/or taking punitive action against code-noncompliant development is not within the scope of this study. 

If I participate in the study, will my permit requirements change? 

No retroactive changes can be made to existing, issued permits based on the results of the study.

Media Contact: Sophia Cassam, Planner III, 360-370-7589,

About San Juan County’s Department of Community Development 

San Juan County’s Department of Community Development is responsible for building permits and inspections, code enforcement, land use designations, long range planning, and more. The department’s main office is located at 135 Rhone Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. For more information about San Juan County’s Department of Community Development, visit


Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Department of Community Development News