Critical Areas

What It Is

Aberdeen's Critical Areas Code governs areas of Aberdeen that provide critical environmental functions. For example, wetlands can protect water quality and provide fish and wildlife habitat. Our code also addresses areas that represent particular challenges for development due to geologic or other natural conditions. The goal of our code regulations, (Aberdeen Municipal Code (AMC) chapter 14.100) is to effectively protect these areas and to protect public safety while allowing reasonable development in our city.

Critical Areas

Designated environmentally critical areas are defined in AMC 14.100.020 and are generally described as:

  • Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas including:
    • Riparian watercourses (all streams and Haller and Bitter Lakes)
    • Riparian Management Areas (the land within 100 feet of riparian watercourse)
    • Areas designated by Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife as priority habitats and species areas
    • Shoreline Habitat, which is all Type 1 waters in Aberdeen, including
  • Frequently Flooded areas
  • Geologic hazard areas including:
    • Landslide/Liquefaction-prone areas (including steep slope areas, potential landslide areas, and  known landslide areas and sites with loose, saturated soil that lose the strength needed to support a building during earthquakes)
    • Erosion-prone areas
    • Seismic and Shaking hazard areas
  • Wetlands

Online Map Tool

You can use our online map tool to see if your property has any mapped Critical Areas (CA's). Most of these maps are advisory; they help us identify potential CCA's on your property.  We will use detailed property information, such as a topographic survey or wetland report, to confirm if an CA is present. There are some types of CA's that we are required to identify based on the maps; for example, priority habitat areas identified by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Your property may also have CA's that are not shown on our maps.

Regulations for Properties 

If your property contains a CA or a buffer for an CA, we have specific regulations, based on the type of CA, for how you can develop your property or disturb any land, including altering vegetation or adding impervious surface.  We suggest that you contact the Community Development Department for more information.

Read the Code

If you have an CA on your property, you will need to comply with the rules that apply to that CA. You can find detailed definitions of each CA in Regulations for Critical Areas (SMC 140.000). 

Proposed Changes

None at this time.