Wildlife and Fish Habitat
Region 10

Fish & Wildlife Habitat Protection Ordinance
City of Tumwater

This should not be used b/c of adaptation to NY State


§ 1.1 Title

       This ordinance shall be known, cited, and referred to as the Fish and Wildlife Habitat
Overlay District Ordinance of the [municipality].

§ 1.2 Authority

        Enactment of this ordinance by [municipality] is pursuant to §10 of the Municipal Home
Rule Law, which grants power to local governments to enact certain local laws. Municipal
Home Rule Law Section 10(1)(ii)(a)(14) grants authority to pass laws for the purpose of
protecting and enhancing the physical and visual environment.

§ 1.3 Purpose

         It is the policy of the [municipality] that the preservation of fish and wildlife habitat is
critical to the protection of suitable environments for animal species and in providing a natural
beauty and healthy quality of life for Tumwater and its citizens. The conservation of habitat
means active land management for maintaining species within their preferred habitats and
accustomed geographic distribution. In this way, isolated sub-populations, which are more
susceptible to predation, dislocation, and inadequate food supplies, are not created. Habitat
protection does not require that all individuals of all species are protected but does demand that
land use planning be sensitive to the priority of saving and protecting animal-rich environments.

§ 1.4 Definitions

[These definitions are taken from a variety of sources, not just the Tumwater ordinance.]

Biodiversity - The full range of variety and variability within and among living organisms and
the ecological complexes in which they occur.
Buffer Zone - A designated area along the perimeter of a wetland, fish, and wildlife habitat or
other critical area that is regulated either on a seasonal or permanent basis to minimize the
impact of adjacent activities, such as human related disturbances.

Development - Any construction or expansion of a building, structure, or use; any change in the
use of a building or structure or changes in the use of land that requires the approval of an
agency of the municipality.

Disturbance - Land preparation (such as clearing, grading and filling) or the building of
structures including driveways. The condition of land disturbance is deemed to continue until
the area of disturbance is returned to its original state or to a state as approved in accordance with
the [Municipality] Code.

Dispersal - The tendency of an organism to move away, either from its birth site (natal dispersal)
or breeding site (breeding dispersal).

Documented Habitat - Habitat where endangered, threatened, sensitive species, or species of
local importance have been documented or are known to exist as confirmed by state or federal

Ecosystem - A dynamic and interrelating complex of plant and animal communities and their
associated environments and biological processes.

Edge Effects - The ecological changes that occur at the boundaries of ecosystems, including
variations in microclimate, influences from adjacent communities and land uses, and an altered
species composition. Greater amounts of edge habitat resulting from landscape fragmentation
reduce habitat available to interior species.

Edge Species - A species found only or primarily near the perimeter of a vegetation patch or in
other ecosystems strongly influenced by the edge effects.

Endangered Species - Those species of fish, shellfish, crustacea, and wildlife designated by the
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, as seriously threatened with
extinction in the State; or species listed as endangered by the United States Department of the
Interior in the Code of Federal Regulations (“C.F.R.) (50 CFR part 17 [see section 182.1a(1) of
this Part]).

Habitat Fragmentation - The process by which habitats are subdivided into smaller patches,
resulting in increased isolation of the patches, loss of total habitat area, and increased edge

Interior Species - A species that is adapted to conditions deep within an unfragmented
vegetation patch and unable to exist at the perimeter.
Landscape Linkages - A movement corridor in which the complete range of community and
ecosystem processes continue operating through time. Plants and smaller animals are able to
move between larger landscapes over a period of generations.

Migration - The periodic movement of individuals to and from an area usually along well-
defined routes.

Native - Any species that spends some portion of its life cycle within New York State, has
occurred here on a regular basis for many years, and was not intentionally or accidentally
released into New York. A species is also considered native if it formerly met the conditions of
this definition.

Open Space - Publicly or privately held undeveloped lands to be used for the preservation or
protection of natural resources (steep slopes, stream corridors, wetlands, wildlife) or managed for
the production of resources (agricultural or pasture lands, forests) or any compatible combination
thereof. Open space also includes lands with minimal or minor improvements made for a
specific purpose (active or passive recreation areas, greenways) with the improvements
contemplating or being compatible with surrounding land uses and having a minimal impact on
the environment.

Riparian Habitat - An area adjacent to flowing water that contains elements of both aquatic and
terrestrial ecosystems that mutually influence each other. In riparian habitat, the vegetation,
water tables, soils, micro-climate, 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 areas 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.

Species - The basic unit of classification, consisting of a population or series of populations of
closely related and similar organisms. In sexually reproducing organisms, a population or series
of populations of organisms that freely interbreed with one another under natural conditions, but
not with members of other species.

Species of Special Concern - Species of fish and wildlife found by the New York Department of
Environmental Conservation to be at risk of becoming either endangered or threatened in New
York. Species of special concern do not qualify as either endangered or threatened, as defined in
6 New York Code of Rules and Regulations (“NYCRR”) Part 182.2(g) and 182.2(h), at this time
and are not subject to the provisions of Part 182. Species of special concern are listed in Part
182.6(c) for informational purposes.

Threatened Species - Those species of fish and wildlife designated by the New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation, which are likely to become an endangered species
within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of their range or are species
listed as threatened by the United States Department of the Interior in the Code of Federal
Regulations (50 C.F.R. Part 17 (see section 182.1(a)(1) of this Part)).
Wildlife Corridor - A landscape feature that facilitates the biologically effective transport of
animals between larger patches of habitat dedicated to conservation functions. Such corridors
may facilitate several kinds of traffic, including frequent foraging movements, seasonal
migrations, or the once in a lifetime dispersion of juvenile animals. These are transitional
habitats and need not contain all habitat elements required for the long-term survival or
reproductions of its migrants.

Woodland - A forested area; a plant community in which, in contrast to a typical forest, the trees
are often small, characteristically short-boled relative to their crown depth, and forming only an
open canopy with the intervening area being occupied by lower vegetation, commonly grass.

§ 1.5 Intent [Adapted from SPOKANE COUNTY, WA, CRITICAL AREAS ORDINANCE § 11.20.010]

         It is the intent of the [municipality] to avoid or (in appropriate circumstances) to
minimize, rectify or compensate for impacts arising from land and development and other
activities affecting fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas. It is also the intent of the
municipality to maintain and enhance the biological and physical functions as well as the values
of these areas. When avoiding impacts, reasonable mitigation shall be implemented to achieve
no net loss in terms of acreage and functional value. Specifically the [municipality] seeks to:

[Adapted from a variety of sources]

1. Identify fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas and their ecosystems within and
   surrounding [municipality].

2. Recognize the multiple values of fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas such as
   scientific research and education, aesthetics, passive recreation, and overall contribution to
   the quality of life; and educate people as to these values.

3. Protect wildlife habitat and wildlife species native to [municipality] and their ecological
   connections, including management of land to maintain species within their preferred and
   suitable habitats and accustomed, natural geographic distribution.

4. Protect public health, safety, and welfare of the community by preserving,protecting,
   restoring, and managing development and other activities within fish and wildlife habitat
   conservation areas.

5. Protect and enhance wildlife's impact on the economic, recreational and environmental
   benefits for residents of [municipality].

6. Preserve, promote and maintain biodiversity by protecting habitat areas from activities which
   would cause immediate or foreseeable danger to significant wildlife habitat.

7. Prevent loss or degradation of critical wildlife and plant habitat.
8. Minimize fragmentation of habitat by protecting open space and by maintaining
   interconnecting corridors to form a continuous network of wildlife habitat and ecosystems;
   and protect large, contiguous, undisturbed tracts, whenever possible.

9. Protect habitats inhabited or having potential to be inhabited by wildlife.

10. Preserve and protect wildlife habitat to the maximum extent possible by limiting the amount
    of intrusions into natural habitat and forming a continuous network of wildlife habitat and

11. Plan and design land uses and development to be harmonious with wildlife habitat and the
    species that depend on that habitat.

12. Maintain consistency with state and federal wildlife protection measures.

13. Minimize impacts of regulation on private property rights.

14. Alert appraisers, assessors, owners, and potential buyers or lessors of property to the
    development limitation within fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas.

15. Restore and maintain broad buffer zones of natural vegetation along streams, shores, and
    perimeters of other sensitive habitats.

§ 1.6 Findings of Fact

1. Areas that contain wildlife and wildlife species are a natural resource of local, statewide,
   national, and global significance.

2. Wildlife plays an important role in maintaining ecosystems through ecological interactions
   such as predation, pollination, and seed dispersal and serve as bioindicators of our

3. Wildlife provides valuable educational and recreational opportunities.

4. Wildlife populations can only be sustained if adequate measures are taken to maintain the
   habitats they require and the ecological connections between them. Habitat protection
   enables wildlife to persist in a region as well as enabling the continuation of vital natural

5. The protection of ecosystems is dependent on a basic understanding that few ecosystems are
   wholly contained within one municipality. Therefore, intermunicipal cooperation is
   necessary to ensure that ecologically sensitive landscapes are protected and maintained.

6. Most wildlife species require a very specific kind of food, climate, terrain, and vegetation.

7. Wildlife diversity is directly related to habitat diversity.
8. Poorly planned land development has fragmented ecosystems.

9. A rise in urban sprawl results in extensive disruption or fragmentation of landscapes which
   reduces the diversity of wildlife.

10. When natural landscapes are divided into smaller pieces or fragments, each piece becomes
    more isolated from other individual patches of habitat.

11. Fragmentation causes native populations of plant and animals to decline with more sensitive
    species disappearing altogether.

12. Fragmentation is one of the major causes of extinction.

13. For many types of wildlife, it is not the total acreage of habitat that counts but how much of
    that habitat exists in large, undisturbed tracts.

14. Habitat reduction and fragmentation alter ecosystems by changing ecological processes
    which ultimately affects biodiversity:

    When land is cleared next to a forest, species at the perimeter are exposed to a slightly
       harsher climate fostering new types of competition and predation.
      Species that cannot cross the introduced vegetation or land uses will be confined to a
       single habitat patch.
      Fragmented landscapes limit the movements of individual organisms and the interactions
       among species populations.
      Certain categories of species are especially vulnerable to habitat reduction and
      Sensitive species may not be able to compete against others that are better adapted to the
      The new landscape pattern particularly affects animals requiring extensive areas for
       foraging or migration.
      Those species that occur in low densities may have difficulty finding mates.

15. Even a small subdivision can have irreversible impacts on many different forms of wildlife.

16. Dispersal and seasonal migration corridors can be just as important to populations of certain
    mobile species as their primary breeding or foraging habitats.

17. Open space preserved for moderate or intensive recreation or for visual relief in highly
    developed areas may be valuable to the human community but may do little for biodiversity;
    the different goals of open space and biodiversity are sometimes but not always compatible.

§ 1.7 Approval required
       No person, corporation, or other legal entity shall engage in construction on a site which
supports a protected fish and wildlife habitat area as defined by this ordinance without having
received approval for proper protection or mitigation by the [Municipality] through the
environmental review process and/or applicable discretionary permit(s) and construction

§ 1.8 Habitats Defined and Protected

       The following habitats are defined and protected:

A. The following fish and wildlife habitat areas are to be protected within the [municipality]:

         1.    Areas with which endangered, threatened, and sensitive species have a primary
         2.    Naturally occurring ponds under twenty acres and their submerged aquatic beds
               that provide fish and wildlife habitats;
         3.    Lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers planted with game fish; and
         4.    Waters of the state, to include the DesChutes River, Percival Creek, Black Lake
               drainage ditch, Barnes Lake, Trosper Lake, Fishpond Creek, and their associated

B. Habitats and species as identified by the Washington State Department of Wildlife's "Priority
   Habitats and Species Project Documents", including future revisions thereof, for the
   Tumwater area.

[Tumwater Definitions associated with § 1.8]

A. "Areas with which endangered, threatened, and sensitive species have a primary association"
   are defined as seasonal ranges and habitats with which federal and state-listed endangered,
   threatened, and sensitive species have a primary association and which, if altered, may
   reduce the likelihood that the species will maintain and reproduce over the long term.

B. "Naturally occurring ponds under twenty acres and their submerged aquatic beds that
   provide fish and wildlife habitat" are defined as naturally occurring ponds not including
   ponds deliberately designed and created from dry sites, such as canals, detention facilities,
   wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, temporary construction ponds (of less than three
   years duration) and landscape amenities. However, naturally occurring ponds may include
   those artificial ponds intentionally created from dry areas in order to mitigate conversion of
   ponds, if permitted by a regulatory authority.

C. "Waters of the state" are defined in Title 222, WAC, the Forest Practice Rules and
   Regulations; further defined as the classification system established in WAC 222.16.030 as
   exists now or hereafter amended.
D. "Lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers planted with game fish" are defined to include game fish
   planted in these water bodies under the auspices of a federal, state, local, or tribal program or
   which supports priority fish species as identified by the Department of Wildlife.

§ 1.9 Habitat Areas - Buffers

       To retain and protect adequate urban wildlife habitats, buffers will be established on a
case-by-case basis to be defined by a habitat protection plan. A "Buffer" is defined as an area of
land used or created for the purpose of insulating or separating a structure or land use from a fish
and/or wildlife habitat area in such a manner as to reduce or mitigate any adverse impacts of the
developed area.

§ 2.0 Habitat Areas - Allowed Uses and Activities.

       Uses within protected habitat areas are limited to low intensity land uses designed not to
adversely affect the habitat. These uses will be:

       Boat ramps
       Docks and floats
       Wildlife blinds
       Scientific research
       Beach access
       Emergency - Temporary Permits
       Existing structures remodeled (including enlargement) or replaced
       Fill with mitigation
       Forest practice permits
       Outdoor recreation activities
       Open space area
       Public structures
       Stormwater facilities
       Trails and related facilities
       Utility lines
       Wildlife nesting structures

§ 2.1 Habitat Areas - Residential Densities

        For the purpose of calculating residential densities for sites containing protected wildlife
habitat areas, the provisions of the underlying zoning district shall apply. "Residential density"
means the permissible number of dwelling units that may be developed on a specific amount of
land area measured in number of dwelling units per acre.

§ 2.2 Habitat Areas - Protection Plan
       When a protected habitat is located on a site to be developed, a Habitat Protection Plan
will be submitted by the permit applicant. The Habitat Protection Plan shall contain the
following information as a minimum and will be subsequently used as part of the Environmental
Review process and is a condition of approval for Discretionary Permit(s) and/or construction

1. A report which contains:

        A. A description of the nature, density, and intensity of the proposed development in
           sufficient detail to allow analysis of such land use change upon the protected fish or
           wildlife habitat.
        B. The applicant's analysis of the effect of the proposed development, activity, or land
           use change upon the fish and/or wildlife species.
        C. A plan by the applicant which shall explain how he will mitigate any adverse impacts
           to protected fish or wildlife habitats created by the proposed development.

2. A map(s) prepared at an easily readable scale, showing:

        A.  The location of the proposed development site.
        B.  The relationship of the development to the adjacent habitat area.
        C.  The nature and density of the proposed development or land use change.
        D.  Proposed building locations and arrangements.
        E.  A legend which includes:
           (1) A complete and accurate legal description as prescribed by the development
                application form. The description shall include the total acreage of the parcel;
           (2) Title, scale, and north arrows; and
           (3) Date, including revision dates if applicable.
        F. Existing structures and landscape features including the name and location of all
            water courses, ponds, and other bodies of water.

3. Possible mitigation measures shall include, but are not limited to:
       A. Establishment of buffer zones;
       B. Buffer zone enhancement by planting indigenous plant species;
       C. Preservation of critically important plants and trees;
       D. Limitation of access to habitat area; and
       E. Seasonal restriction of construction activities.

[The following section (§ 3) outlines some examples of how to ensure that resources contained in
Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Overlay Districts are impacted to the least possible

§ 3.0   Protection of Wildlife Habitat – Performance Standards
§ 3.1 Fragmentation

Minimizing fragmentation requires an approach that combines several overlapping strategies:

A. Land Use Planning for Conservation and Growth.

   1. Conduct a natural resource inventory,
   2. Reach a consensus on priority natural resources on which to focus protective efforts, and
   3. Amend the comprehensive plan and zoning regulations to designate areas where
      development has the least impact on priority natural resources.

B. Land Conservation

1. Where more species movement is anticipated, certain practices and designs shall be
   implemented to help reduce vehicle traffic:

       a) closing a road seasonally during the migration period of a particular species,
       b) where roads must be retained, they shall be two lanes instead of four, dirt instead of
          paved surface, and without a median concrete divider,
       c) wildlife crossings shall consist of a series of underpasses or overpasses designed to
          accommodate specific animals allowing them to use habitat on both sides of the road.

2. Permanent conservation of land – both private and public – constitutes a major portion of any
   strategy to preserve habitat and minimize fragmentation. The following general concepts
   regarding open space and fragmentation shall be considered conservation priorities:

       a) Protect a few large tracts of natural land by maintaining relatively large areas of
          continuous, unfragmented natural lands with a diversity of habitat types (grassland,
          forest, shrubland).
       b) Protect a network of smaller tracts by scattering moderate size natural areas in the
          125-500 acre range. These smaller tracts of land should be as close as possible to any
          larger tracts, contain a diversity of habitat/landscape types, and be connected to any
          other natural areas.
       c) Promote gradual non-linear transitional edges.
       d) Make connections by giving high conservation priority to parcels contiguous to
          existing large and medium-sized tracts.
       e) Stream valleys and ridge tops shall be targeted because these areas often serve as both
          critical habitat and wildlife corridors (they are used by almost 70% of all vertebrate

§ 3.2 Landscape Scale Habitat Preservation

A. Maintain large, intact patches of native vegetation by preventing fragmentation of these
   patches by development.
B. Establish priorities for species protection and protect habitats that contain the distribution
   and abundance of those species.

C. Protect rare landscape elements and guide development toward areas of landscape containing
   “corner” features.

D. Maintain connections among wildlife habitats by identifying and protecting corridors for

E. Maintain significant ecological processes in protected areas.

F. Contribute to regional persistence of rare species by protecting some of their habitat locally.

G. Balance the opportunity for public recreation with habitat needs of wildlife.

H. Balance conservation and development needs of the community.

§3.3 Site Scale Habitat Preservation

A. Maintain buffers between areas dominated by human activities and core areas of wildlife

1. If vehicular or pedestrian traffic is unavoidable, mitigation measures described below shall
   be implemented to the greatest extent possible.

       a) Buffer zone

            i) identify sensitive or important habitat and assign top priority to threatened or
                 endangered species, species particularly sensitive to human activity, habitat
                 regionally unique, or areas that support large numbers of native species,
            ii) roads and motorized traffic should be disallowed in a core area, but could occur
                 in one or more buffers,
            iii) limit foot traffic to periphery of core area (use short, natural looking fences like
                 spit-rail fences) along trail to direct flow of human traffic but still permit wildlife

       b) Visual and temporal barriers – an alternative or complementary approach to buffers.
          A visual barrier may be a row of tress or shrubs while a temporal barrier is a limit or
          exclusion of human activity during critical times of the year such as breeding season.

B. Facilitate wildlife movement across areas dominated by human activities.

C. Mimic features of local natural landscape in the developed areas.

D. Minimize “edge effects,” caused by roads, trails and power line cuts, where two fairly
   sizeable habitat patches meet (such as residential areas, large fields, or woodlots).
§ 4 Enforcement [OMITTED]

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