SEPA Threshold Determination Appeal,
King county department of Natural resources file No. 089574

Copy of Order portion of the July 10, 1997 decision of the King County Hearing Examiner.


These procedural and design guidelines shall be in effect unless and until superceded by guidelines which are adopted by the King County Council (or by the Department Director pursuant to KCC 2.98) which address the public safety aspects of river management, particularly the installation of large, woody debris (LWD) as a river management or revetment/levee maintenance device, or until April 15, 2002, whichever date is sooner.

1. Procedural Protections.

A. The Department shall maintain a mailing list of boater and recreational user group representatives having and interest in public safety on King County River systems.

B. Annually through the year 2001, the Department shall provide boater and recreational user group representatives with opportunities to review and provide comment on proposed river facility maintenance and flood damage repair projects which propose to include LWD for that year.

C. The Department shall establish a river management and river maintenance public information program which uses some combination of the following public information elements: Public meetings, project site visits, posting information on King County's web page, newsletter to identified boater and recreational user groups and/or user group representatives with interest in public safety on King County River systems.

D. The Department shall continue to meet with an adhoc Boater Safety Advisory Committee as a means of eliciting public safety comment regarding proposed river maintenance projects on a case-by-case basis.

2. Design guidelines.

A. Prior to design of any individual project, local zoning and land use plans should be reviewed to consider how use of adjacent properties may affect public safety considerations. For instance, a nearby trail corridor, school, or park would tend to heighten public safety design concerns.

B. If the design of any river maintenance or repair project assumes limited boater or river recreational use, this assumption should be verified through investigation. Surveys or interviews of neighboring residents and consultation with recreational user organizations regarding the frequency, type of use and seasonal variations in use should be conducted.

C. Where there are conflicting concerns related to requirements for safety or recreational uses, or of other agencies have the authority to affect the design through a permit process, King County should attempt to convene a meeting of the interested parties and attempt to find a mutually satisfactory solution.

D. No in stream or bank modifications should be designed in a manner which may recruit or entrap vessels or people; nor should such modifications be designed to recruit or collect natural materials floating on the river, including woody debris, unless specifically intended to do so. An example of acceptably diminishing entrapment potential of a LWD with a rootwad situated directly in the main current of a river would be to place large rocks within the catchment or potential entrapment area between the log/rootwad and the shore, or to secure the rootwad in the hydraulic shadow of other structures in a manner which reasonably obviates the entrapment potential -- subject, of course, to appropriate engineering review and compliance with other river engineering standards.

E. Structures that are intended to recruit or trap floating materials generally should be avoided in stream segments or reaches which are popular with recreational users.

F. During construction (during installation of LWD), the department should post and maintain a warning sign upstream from a any project repair site which uses LWD and which has been identified as a locale of concern for the safety of boaters and other recreational river users. Further, the Department should post and maintain informational signs at improved, public launch/take-out sites used by boaters and other recreational river useres.

G. Where site specific review reveals potential conflict with, or endangerment of, boaters and other recreational river users, the Department may adjust the LWD components, add an upstream rock spur or replace LWD with rock spur deflectors.

H. These criteria are not intended to limit emergency work during a flood or eminent flood threat.

These guidelines are not intended to be definitive. It is hoped that the Department will continue its admirable effort to involve not only fishery and property interests, but also recreational interests, in its design process. The guidelines indicated above are adopted by this Order with the optimistic belief that the Department's intentions are honorable, that it is rapidly becoming sensitive to the design considerations of public safety concerns related to large, woody debris, and that it is committed to maintaining and even expanding the public participation element of its river maintenance program.

ORDERED this 10th day of July, 1997.

R.S. Titus, Deputy
King County Hearing Examiner