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 Assessment on the County’s implementation of significant natural resource requirements is being 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 significant natural resource protections in the development review process, particularly on lands with wildlife habitat.


 In 2018, 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 background of the County’s natural resource inventory, program and regulations
  • Review of the Current Planning Section’s development review processes
  • Stakeholder engagement including Community Participation Organizations, developers and other interested parties to gather input and comments regarding the County’s significant natural resource regulations
  • Review of development review decisions involving significant natural resources locations

Staff will use this research and comments received to identify issues and opportunities and to develop recommendations to be included in the Significant Natural Resources Assessment.


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Issue Paper Timeline

The anticipated timeline for the issue paper is subject to change.

SNR Issue paper timeline


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.