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Title 17E
Chapter 17E.020
Section 17E.020.030
 

Title 17E Environmental Standards

Chapter 17E.020 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Areas

Section 17E.020.030 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas

  1. Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas include the following:

    1. Areas with which priority species (as determined by the Washington department of fish and wildlife) have primary association. Priority species are wildlife species of concern due to their population status and their sensitivity to habitat alteration.

    2. Priority habitats as identified by the Washington department of fish and wildlife (WDFW). Priority habitats are areas with one or more of the following attributes:

      1. Comparatively high wildlife density.

      2. High wildlife species richness.

      3. Significant wildlife species richness

      4. Important wildlife breeding habitat

      5. Significant wildlife seasonal ranges

      6. Important movement corridors for wildlife

      7. Limited availability; and/or

      8. Vulnerability.

    3. Habitats or species of local importance identified by WDFW.

    4. Habitats or species of local importance. In order to nominate "Habitats/Species of Local Importance" as candidates for designation within the category of fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, an individual or organization must do the following:

      1. Demonstrate a need for special consideration based on declining population, sensitivity to habitat manipulation, or commercial, game or other special value, such as public appeal.

      2. Propose relevant management strategies considered effective and within the scope of this chapter; and

      3. Provide species/habitat location(s) on a map (scale 1:24,000).

      Submitted proposals will be reviewed by the director and forwarded to the state departments of fish and wildlife, natural resources, ecology, and/or other local and state agencies or experts for comment and recommendation regarding accuracy of data and effectiveness of proposed management strategies. The City of Spokane plan commission will hold a public hearing for proposals found to be complete, accurate, potentially effective, and within the scope of this chapter. Approved nominations will become designated "Habitats/Species of Local Importance" and be subject to the provisions of this chapter. Approval of nominations for local habitat and species designation are subject to the City’s discretion. Appeals of the designation of local habitats and species shall be reviewed as to whether the designation decision was arbitrary and capricious. Appeals may be made in accordance with chapter 17G.050 SMC.

    5. Naturally occurring ponds less than twenty acres and their submerged aquatic beds that provide fish or wildlife habitat.

    6. Waters of the state.

    7. Lakes, ponds, streams and rivers planted with game fish (defined at RCW 77.09.020), including fish planted under the auspices of federal, state, local or tribal programs, or which support priority fish species as identified by WDFW.

    8. State natural area preserves and natural resource conservation areas.
       
  2. The City of Spokane includes the following priority habitats and species:

    1. Freshwater Wetlands.
      Lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water. Wetlands must have one or more of the following attributes:

      1. The land supports, at least periodically, predominantly hydrophytic plants.

      2. Substrate is predominantly undrained hydric soils; and/or

      3. The substrate is nonsoil and is saturated with water or covered by shallow water at some time during the growing season of each year.

    2. Fresh Deepwater.
      Permanently flooded lands lying below the deepwater boundary of wetlands. Deepwater habitats include environments where surface water is permanent and often deep, so that water, rather than air, is the principal medium within which the dominant organisms live. The dominant plants are hydrophytes; however, the substrates are considered nonsoil because the water is too deep to support emergent vegetation. These habitats include all underwater structures and features.

    3. Instream.
      Instream habitat is defined as the combination of physical, biological, and chemical processes and conditions that interact to provide functional life history requirements for instream fish and invertebrate resources. Instream habitats support comparatively high fish and wildlife density and species diversity, important fish and wildlife seasonal ranges, limited availability, high vulnerability to habitat alteration, dependent species.

    4. Caves.
      A naturally occurring cavity, recess void, or system of interconnected passages (including associated dentritic tubes, cracks, and fissures), which occurs under the earth in soils, rock, ice, or other geological formations and is large enough to contain a human. Mine shafts may mimic caves, and those abandoned mine shafts with actual or suspected occurrences of priority species should be treated in a manner similar to caves. A mine is a man-made excavation in the earth usually used to extract minerals.

    5. Riparian.
      Riparian habitat is defined as an area that contains elements of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, which mutually influence each other. It is the area where the vegetation, water tables, soils, microclimate, and wildlife inhabitants of terrestrial ecosystems are influenced by perennial or intermittent water, and the biological and physical properties of the adjacent aquatic ecosystems are influenced by adjacent vegetation, nutrient and sediment loading, terrestrial wildlife, and organic debris from the land. Riparian vegetation includes not only streamside vegetation that is dependent upon presence of water, but also on the upland vegetation that is part of the zone of influence in the riparian area. Riparian habitats have high wildlife density and high species diversity. They serve as important wildlife breeding and seasonal ranges. They are important movement corridors and are highly vulnerable to habitat alteration.

    6. Cliffs/Bluffs.
      Greater than twenty-five feet high and below five thousand feet elevation, these areas are significant for wildlife breeding habitat, have limited availability and support unique assemblages of species.

    7. Talus.
      Homogenous areas of rock rubble ranging in average size from fifteen one-hundredths to two meters (one-half to six and one-half feet), composed of basalt, andesite and/or sedimentary rock, including riprap slides and mine tailings. May be associated with cliffs.

    8. Old Growth/Mature Forests.
      Tree stands are highly variable in species composition and structural characteristics due to the influence of fire, climate and soil. In general, stands will be greater than one hundred fifty years old with ten trees per acre greater than twenty-one inches diameter at breast height and one to three snags per acre greater than twelve to fourteen inches in diameter. Downed logs may vary from abundant to absent. Canopies may be single or multilayered. Evidence of human-caused alterations to the stand will be absent or so slight as not to affect the ecosystem structures and functions.

    9. Mature forests have stands with average tree diameters exceeding fifty three centimeters (twenty one inches) diameter at breast height; crown cover may be less than one hundred percent; decay, decadence, numbers of snags and quantity of large downed material is generally less than that found in old growth; eighty to one hundred sixty years old east of the Cascade crest. Old growth and mature forests have high wildlife density and diversity, and constitute important for breeding habitat and seasonal ranges. Old growth and mature forests are limited and declining and have a high vulnerability to habitat alteration.

    10. Snags and Logs.
      Snags and logs occur within a variety of habitat types that support trees. Trees are considered snags if they are dead or dying and exhibit sufficient decay characteristics to enable cavity excavation/use by wildlife. Priority snags have a diameter at breast height of greater than twelve inches in eastern Washington and are greater than six and one-half feet in height. Priority logs are greater than twelve inches in diameter at the largest and greater than twenty feet in length. Abundant snags and logs can be found in old growth and mature forests or unmanaged forests of any age, in damaged, burned, or diseased forests, and in riparian areas. Priority snag and log habitat includes individual snags and/or logs or groups of snags and/or logs of exceptional value to wildlife due to their scarcity or location in a particular landscape. Areas with abundant, well-distributed snags and logs are also considered priority snag and log habitat. Snags and logs support comparatively high fish and wildlife density and species diversity, important fish and wildlife breeding habitat and seasonal ranges and have limited availability, high vulnerability to habitat alteration, and a large number of cavity-dependent species.

    11. Aspen Stands.
      Aspen stands are defined as pure or mixed stands of aspen greater than one acre. Aspen stands support high fish and wildlife species diversity and have limited availability and high vulnerability to habitat alteration.

    12. Urban Natural Open Space.
      A priority species resides within or is adjacent to the open space and uses it for breeding and/or regular feeding. This habitat may also function as a corridor connecting other fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, especially those that would otherwise be isolated, and/or the open space is an isolated remnant of natural habitat larger than ten acres and is surrounded by urban development. Local consideration may be given to open space areas smaller than ten acres. Urban natural open space has comparatively high wildlife density and diversity, is important as a breeding habitat, and is important as a movement corridor. These areas have limited availability and have a high vulnerability to habitat alteration.

    13. Prairies and Steppe.
      Prairies and steppe habitat is defined a relatively undisturbed areas as indicated by the dominance of native plants where grasses and forbs form the natural climax plant community. Prairies and steppe habitat has relatively high wildlife density and diversity, is important wildlife breeding habitat and is important for seasonal range. This habitat has limited availability, high vulnerability to habitat alteration and supports unique and dependent species.

    14. Shrub-Steppe.
      Small tracts of land less than six hundred forty acres with a habitat type consisting of plant communities with one or more layers of perennial grasses and a conspicuous but discontinuous layer of shrubs. Although smaller in size and possibly more isolated from other tracts of shrub-steppe, these areas are still important to shrub-steppe obligate and other state-listed wildlife species. Shrub-steppe habitat supports comparatively high fish and wildlife density and species diversity, important fish and wildlife breeding habitat and seasonal ranges, are of limited availability, has high vulnerability to habitat alteration, and have unique and dependent species.

    15. White-tailed Deer Winter Range.
      Winter range is determined by a combination of range factors:

      1. Elevation.

      2. Slope.

      3. Aspect.

      4. Snow depth.

      5. Browse quality and quantity.

      6. Presence of closed canopy mature forests.

      7. Temperatures; and

      8. Traditional deer movement patterns.

      Closed canopies of mature forests along streams are extremely important white-tailed deer habitat.

    16. Moose Range.
      Forested summer range includes stream bottoms and other moist areas inside mature timber stands of one hundred acres or more with seventy percent canopy coverage. Narrow productive zones of understory forage are utilized both summer and winter. These areas should have little disturbance and escape cover islands. Winter range is determined by a combination of range factors:

      1. Snow depth.

      2. Aspect.

      3. Browse quality and quantity.

      4. Presence of closed canopy mature forests.

      Calving sites are characterized by minimally disturbed roadless blocks of mature timber with good forage.

Table 17E.020-1

Priority Species Status
Amphibians  
Columbian Spotted Frog State Species of Concern
Northern Leopard Frog Federal Species of Concern, State Endangered Species
   
Mammals  
Townsend’s Big-eared Bat Federal Species of Concern, State Candidate
Big Brown Bat Local and State Species of Concern
Myotis Bat Local and State Species of Concern
Moose Game Species
River Otter Local Species of Concern
   
Birds  
Peregrine Falcon Federal Species of Concern, State Sensitive Species
Bald Eagle Federal, State Threatened Species
Merlin State Candidate Species
Vaux’s Swift State Candidate Species
Pileated Woodpecker State Candidate Species
Black-backed Woodpecker State Candidate Species
Lewis’ Woodpecker State Candidate Species
White-headed Woodpecker State Candidate Species
Great Blue Heron State Monitor
Harlequin Duck Game and Local Species of Concern
Cavity-nesting Ducks Game Species
Waterfowl Concentrations  
Osprey Federal Migratory Bird Act
   
Fish  
Rainbow Trout Game Species
Redband Trout Game Species
NOTE: Definitions for species status are contained in the Washington department of fish and wildlife Management Recommendations for Priority Species and in WAC 232-12, or as amended. The shoreline master program may list additional nominations for species of local concern for protection under this code. That regulation that provides the most protection for priority habitat species shall prevail.

Date Passed: Monday, December 3, 2007

Effective Date: Sunday, January 6, 2008

ORD C34147 Section 6