Significant Natural Resources

Significant Natural Resources IconThe County’s significant natural resources, including riparian areas, water areas, wetlands and fish and wildlife habitat, are shown in community plans and the Rural/Natural Resource Plan.

Statewide Planning Goal 5 requires local governments to identify significant natural resources and to adopt programs to protect and classify these important natural areas. The County inventoried locally significant natural resources, including fish and wildlife habitats, and adopted policies and standards in the early 1980s.


The Community Development Code Section 422 includes significant natural resource requirements for proposed development in the County’s urban unincorporated area. The regulations allow for limited development in areas with significant natural resources while providing appropriate protection or mitigation of impacts. If a proposed development interferes with or impacts a protected area, the developer must provide recommendations to reduce the impact and/or offset any loss of habitat.

Significant Natural Resources Assessment

A Significant Natural Resources (SNR) Assessment on the County’s implementation of SNR requirements has been drafted as part of the 2018-19 Work ProgramThe Board of Commissioners identified the topic as a priority, based on community concerns regarding the County’s SNR protections in the development review process, particularly on lands with wildlife habitat.


Staff research included:


  • Review of local, state and federal regulations and Land Use Board of Appeal (LUBA) decisions concerning significant natural resources
  • Review of the historical background of the County’s natural resource inventory, program and regulations
  • Review of the Current Planning section’s land use review processes
  • Stakeholder engagement including Community Participation Organizations (CPOs), developers and other interested parties to gather input and comments regarding the County’s SNR regulations
  • Review of land use decisions involving significant natural resources 
  • Review of the County's tree removal and permit requirements

The Draft SNR Assessment report is a comprehensive examination of Washington County's Goal 5 program as it relates to natural resources in the urban area.


The report is now available for review. The PDF version can be viewed or downloaded here.

Technical appendices can be found here.



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Draft Program Review and Assessment Timeline


Program review
Oct. 4, 2019 Publish draft report
Oct. 16, 2019 Planning Commission Work Session
Nov. 5, 2019 Board Work Session (tentative)
Dec.–Jan. 2020 Finalize report with comments and recommendations
Jan.–Feb. 2020 Incorporate Board direction into 2020–21 Work Program


Public comment
Oct. 16, 2019 Planning Commission Work Session
Nov. 5, 2019 Board Work Session (tentative)
Oct.–Nov. 2019 Public review, online open house, CPO meetings
Jan.–Feb. 2020 Discuss final recommendations with Board



Comments or Questions

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Public Records Disclosure: This comment form is a public record of Washington County and is subject to public disclosure unless exempt from disclosure under Oregon Public Records Law.