sunset photo Neighbors of Seahurst Park is another group working to protect Seahurst Park. They are collecting money for a legal fund. For information on how you can help, please go to Seahurstfriends.org
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October 2008: This page (and the Wetlands page) has been relocated from SeahurstPark.org

This page was last updated on March 4, 2008.

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The first part of this page contains extracts from Westmark Development's Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Emerald Pointe Condominiums proposed for property in Burien Washington. Below that are relevant extracts from Burien's Critical Areas Ordinance. The 4 PDF files including images total 324 pages, so this is the short version. The amended CAO is available from www.mrsc.org as a PDF file and was officially filed with the City Clerk October 16, 2003. The DEIS is available in printed or CD format for a nominal fee from Roadrunner Print and Copy, 120 SW 153rd St, Burien, WA 98166. (206) 242-4042. I can make a downloadable copy available on request, but for bandwidth reasons do not want to post links to it. Please note that the Comment Period for the DEIS is closed, the Final EIS is due in approximately mid-May.
June 4, 2008: Release is now scheduled for "early June", any day now. Printed copies will be available as above, Burien will also have a copy available for download posted on their website. I'll have a link as soon as it's available.

All the sections of text on this page that are not set off in a box like this one, are copied verbatim from the two documents referenced above. The index provides direct links to major sections. There are also links throughout the page to referenced material on other parts of the page, and a few links to external sources. Use your Back button to return to where you were. Underlining/highlighting of the copied text is mine, done for emphasis. In addition I have added comments throughout the page, using the same highlighted boxes.

The developers preferred alternative is listed as Alternative 2 which has fewer condo units, but approximately the same building footprints as Alternative 1. Where I've quoted statements referring to predicted impacts from Alternative 1, it's because the statements for Alternative 2 say "impacts under Alternative 2 would be similar to those described under Alternative 1". See the DEIS for confirmation.

Also keep in mind that the creek which is fed and protected by these wetlands provides water to a salmon hatchery that is used as an educational facility, and the fact that there are salmon present requires special consideration under BMC 19.40.410.

You should also look at the related Google Map on the wetlands page, it shows an aerial view of the property and adjacent section of the park. Wetland and other information is marked on that map as well.


The short version of all of this: The wetland on the western border [mostly on adjacent park property] of the proposed development has been identified as a Category 2 wetland by the developer's own surveys, and specifically as a "palustrine forested wetland". According to the BMC CAO any forested wetland is a Category 1 wetland. Under the BMC CAO a Category 1 wetland requires a 200 foot buffer. Or more. However the developer states in the DEIS that their plans for buffer areas will be based on the February 1990 KCC [King County Code} due to being vested as a result of a lawsuit resulting in a judgment from Snohomish County Superior Court. The February 1990 KCC regulations (1990 KCC Section 21.54.160) did not require a wetlands buffer at all so no buffer is required. The next paragraph of the DEIS states that September 1990 KCC Section 21.54.270 required that Category 2 wetlands have a 50 foot buffer plus a 15 foot setback but since they are vested under the February 1990 code they will voluntarily provide a 50 foot buffer. They appear to state that they will adhere to current stormwater regulations and NPDES rules.

The DEIS states that short term impacts to the wetlands would include increased water runoff and sedimentation in the wetland due to plant removal and grading on the construction site. Long term impacts are listed as: 1) introduction of non-native species, 2) removal of forest habitat near the wetlands causing increased sunlight and changed conditions in the wetlands, 3) increased water runoff due to vegetation removal and installation of impervious surfaces [roads, parking lots and buildings], and 4) potential increased erosion in the wetlands due to the runoff. In addition they state that the wetlands are at least partly fed by groundwater seepage and that the additional impervious surfaces in the development could reduce that seepage and therefore have a negative effect on the wetlands.

The major issue with this development is not the development itself, it's the fact that they are working under ecology regulations that are almost 20 years out of date. And in fact the rules they'll be using were upgraded only 7 months after they were put in place. And upgraded many times since then. Not only as evidence increased that stronger rules were needed, but as new science became available and we learned things that no one knew previously. If current best practices/regulations were followed there would probably be minimal impact on the wetlands, the Park and the Sound. Allowing a project of this size to ignore all the knowledge that has been accumulated since 1990 is unacceptable. If SEPA is vested, why not landscaping, grading, electrical, plumbing and other codes? How significant is the difference? There are a lot of agencies with jurisdiction over this project including the City of Burien, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington Department of Ecology and the Army Corps of Engineers. It seems to me that every agency who regulates this sort of thing should be concerned about the precedent that is being set here. We can no longer afford to do this sort of damage..

Second, there is a large, undocumented, high quality, urban wetland adjoining the property. That needs to be rectified, which can be done with a proper wetlands delineation. And that needs to be done regardless of the status of the Emerald Pointe development.

The following text is taken from the Emerald Pointe DEIS. This is what will happen if the development proceeds under the 1990 KCC.

Two page numbers are provided for each section. x-xx refers to the page number shown for that section, (xxx) refers to the page number listed for that page in the PDF file. By using either of them the original text can be located in the DEIS. My comments are set off in reduced width boxes with a colored background. The extracts are unmodified.

Pg 3-70 (130)
3.5.1.1 Applicable Regulations
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is responsible for administering the permitting under Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), which applies directly to activities affecting wetlands. The Corps has jurisdiction over the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States, which includes streams and wetlands:
The Army Corps' regulatory authority is contained within §404 of the CWA. Army Corps jurisdiction is over waters of the United States which is defined at 33 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR]328.3 as (1) all navigable waters and their tributaries; (2) all interstate waters and their tributaries; (3) all other waters, the use, degradation, or destruction of which could affect interstate commerce; (4) all water impoundments; (5) territorial seas; and (6) wetland adjacent to waters identified above.
According to 33 CFR 328.4, the Corp’s limits of jurisdiction extend over (a) territorial seas; (b) tidal waters of the U.S; and (c) non-tidal waters of the U.S. The Project’s wetland area is a non-tidal water of the U.S. that is adjacent to surface water connections that flow into Puget Sound. Thus, the Corps has jurisdiction over the wetland on the Project site under its authority under the CWA.
The Army Corps of Engineers is involved in a Habitat Restoration Project in Seahurst Park that is directly downstream from the wetlands and creek. This wetland feeds the creek that impacts the shore that the project is rebuilding.
Pg 3-73 (133)
The Project was vested in February 1990, before the City of Burien was incorporated. Thus, February 1990 KCC regulations apply to this Project, rather than the current BMC. The 1990 regulations allow for disturbance or alteration of wetland habitat if one of two conditions is present: either the wetland does not serve any characteristic functions, including but not limited to providing wildlife habitat and natural drainage functions, or the proposed development would preserve or enhance wetland functions. No language discussing or requiring a wetland buffer is present in this version of the KCC. Therefore, according to vested 1990 KCC regulations, no wetland buffer requirements apply to the wetland on the Project site (1990 KCC Section 21.54.160).
This wetland does provide wildlife habitat and natural drainage, and the proposed development will not preserve or enhance it's wetland function. Because of those facts it appears that even the 1990 KCC does not allow the wetlands to be disturbed or altered.
Wetland Surveys
A wetland study was completed in 1991 using the Corps Wetlands Delineation Manual (Environmental Laboratory 1987) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wetland classification system (Cowardin et al. 1979). This wetland did not occur on the King County Sensitive Areas Folio Map in 1990 (Terra Associates 1991), nor does it occur on the current National Wetlands Inventory map register (USFWS 2006). Surveyors determined this to be a King County Class II palustrine forested wetland (Terra Associates 1991) using the September 1990 KCC (1990 KCC Section 21.54.270). September 1990 KCC regulations dictated Category II wetlands shall have a 50-foot buffer. These regulations required a minimum 15-foot building setback line in addition to the wetland buffer and do not allow for buffer averaging (1990 KCC Section 21.54.270). The Project is vested under February 1990 KCC regulations, so the September 1990 regulations do not apply to the Project site. However, these buffers have been proposed by the Applicant on their construction and landscape plans.
The developer is stating that because the King County Codes did not address wetlands until the September 1990 version and because they are vested under the February codes, that they are voluntarily providing a minimal buffer. This buffer will not provide adequate protection for the wetland. And the statement conflicts with the previous statement.
A brief field reconnaissance was completed in October 2006 to confirm the general location and boundary of the wetland. While the 1991 delineation by Terra Associates and the 2006 reconnaissance by EDAW, Inc., resulted in similar boundaries, there are some minor differences (see Figure 3.5-1). In the 2006 survey, the central-eastern section of the wetland boundary was extended to the north and the central-western section of the wetland boundary was extended to the south (see Figure 3.5-1). This survey was carried out using a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and not actual survey locations. EDAW verified the boundaries of the wetland in during a reconnaissance but did not conduct a formal wetland delineation. The results of the past wetland delineation (Terra Associates) and the EDAW reconnaissance are shown in Figure 3.5-1).
The only wetland delineation that was done was for wetlands on the property. There are significant additional wetlands adjacent to a larger section of the property, and 19.40.120 of the CAO states that the applicant is responsible for "Identification and characterization of all critical areas, water bodies, and buffers adjacent to the proposed project area or potentially impacted by the proposed project". This clause may be outside the vesting of 1990 codes.
3.5.1.2 Vegetation
The vegetation surrounding the wetland at the Project site is dominated by a forested canopy with underlying shrub and herbaceous layers. As such, this wetland is categorized as a palustrine forested wetland (Cowardin et al. 1979).
Pg 3-74 (134)
3.5.1.3 Soils
Wetland soil samples were saturated, and colors ranged from gray to very dark gray with some redoximorphic features. All wetland soil samples were concluded to be hydric (Terra Associates 1991).
Pg 3-75 (135)
3.5.1.3 Hydrology
The main water source for the wetland on the Project site is groundwater seepage, which occurs at several points along the toe of the slope that borders the east and south sides of the wetland (Terra Associates 1991). Other water sources include precipitation and runoff (surface flow). Observed wetland hydrology includes standing water, water stains, flow patterns, and groundwater seepage. Water travels from the wetland area off-site into North Creek, which flows west through Seahurst Park and into Puget Sound. At the time of the October 2006 site visit, flowing and standing water were present in several areas of the wetland (see Photo 3.5-1).
Groundwater seepage is the primary source for the wetlands off the property as well. Since the primary source of water for the wetlands (and therefore the creek) is ground water seepage, construction which changes the slope and the amount of permeable surface above the wetlands will have a significant affect on the wetlands.
3.5.2.1 Alternative 1
Short-Term Impacts
No Project construction would take place in the wetland, thus no wetland vegetation would be removed or disturbed as a result of Alternative 1. Potential short-term, indirect impacts to wetland vegetation could result from sedimentation and surface water runoff from the upslope Project site during the construction phase. Construction activity may cause a short-term increase in surface water runoff flowing to the wetland from removal of vegetation and grading over approximately 7.4 acres. Increased runoff could carry excess sediment to nearby wetlands and streams and affect vegetation, amphibians, and resident fish. Implementation of stormwater plans during construction will minimize, but not eliminate these impacts. Details on the stormwater regulations can be found in Section 3.2. Implementation of Alternative 1 would require compliance with standards set forth in the CWA and the Environmental Protection Agency’s NPDES permit program (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] 2006).

They talk about impacts on vegetation, amphibians and resident fish, but it appears that no recent study of vegetation has been done, and no study at all on fish or amphibians in the area.

The developer's own statement says that they will be required to comply with 2006 EPA regulations.

Long-Term Impacts
Construction equipment could transport non-native species into the Project site, which could become established in the long-term near or in the wetland habitat. Due to the removal of forest habitat near the wetland, areas exposed to sunlight would increase and could provide suitable conditions for invasive species. Aggressive invasive species, such as Himalayan blackberry, currently exist on the Project site and could expand into the wetland habitat over time as a result of forest clearing under Alternative 1.
Installation of approximately 7.4 acres of impervious surface in Alternative 1 would increase surface water runoff on the Project site and potentially contribute to long-term issues of erosion and sedimentation in the wetland habitat and surrounding areas. Project activities, particularly vegetation removal and installation of impervious surfaces, would contribute to increased surface water runoff in the long term and may affect water quality in the wetland (see 3.2 Drainage and Water Quality). Mitigation measures describe in Section 3.2 would minimize, but not eliminate these effects. Surface runoff associated with the impervious surfaces in the 200-unit complex would be managed with a water quality and detention vault installed on the site. Off-site runoff would be routed either in a separate bypass system or added to the site storm drainage system. Stormwater plans do not include treatment of off-site runoff in the water quality detention vaults.
Roads, cut and fill slopes, buildings, and parking lots associated with the proposed Project may affect the ground water hydrology and consequently affect the nearby wetland. The wetland appears to rely partly on groundwater seepage that may be affected from the development and the ensuing changes to groundwater hydrology. Over the long-term the wetland may become smaller or there could be a change in vegetation species composition. It is difficult to predict such effects without extensive groundwater monitoring and modeling.
Cumulative Impacts
Development in the Nearshore Subasin of WRIA 9 continues to remove upland habitat that has a cumulative effect on wetlands within the watershed. While this Project is implementing the required stormwater control plans and is leaving a buffer that is not required under the vested regulations, removal of upland habitat in the watershed will have cumulative contributions to regional wetland impacts.
Pg 3-80 (140)
Guidance regarding certain environmental constraints is found elsewhere in the February 1990 KCC. In February of 1990, King County required applicants to consider a number of environmentally “sensitive areas,” including flood hazard areas, wetlands, landslide areas and others in site planning and construction activities. The Project site contains areas defined in King County’s Special Control Areas Ordinance as landslide hazard areas and wetlands (see Figure 3.3-2 and Figure 3.5-1). These areas require additional action to avoid impacts caused by development. A soil study that adequately demonstrates that the Project can be constructed safely (with mitigation measures, if necessary) on landslide hazard areas as
Pg 3-81 (141)
required by 1990 KCC 21.54.150. Additionally, wetlands located on a Project site “shall not be disturbed or altered through excavation, filling, building, or other improvements,” unless it is determined that 1) the wetland does not serve any of the functions identified in 1990 KCC 20.12.080 and Corps 33 CFR 320.4 (b), or 2) the development would preserve or enhance the wildlife habitat, natural drainage and/or other functions as defined in the aforementioned sections of the KCC and Corps documents.
As previously stated, the wetlands will be disturbed, they do serve the specified functions, and they will not be enhanced by the project. Therefore it appears that even the February 1990 KCC would prohibit "disturbing or altering" these wetlands.
Pg 3-82 (142)
2006 City of Burien Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Designations
Although allowable uses on the site under the proposal are determined by the 1990 KCC, as confirmed by an adjudicated court decision, allowable uses on adjacent parcels are determined by current City of Burien regulations. To understand the proposal within the context of the City of Burien’s current vision for the area, the City of Burien Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code designations are discussed below. However, it should be understood that these regulations do not apply to the Project in question, as it is vested under the KCC regulations in place in February 1990.

I have not included the developers discussion of current Burien regulations.

If this vesting for Clean Water Act and SEPA rules is allowed to stand, a rare, irreplaceable, and invaluable urban wetland stands to be permanently degraded. This will affect a park where millions of dollars are being spent to restore natural habitat. The park supports a number of threatened and protected species including Salmon, Bald Eagles and Herons. All of them and many more species are documented to use the North Creek Basin and its associated wetlands. It is critical that the vesting allowed under a County Superior Court ruling be overturned. It is also critical that a proper and valid delineation of the wetlands and associated wildlife habitat be done. The applicant performed at least one wetland survey in 2006, plus the old survey from 1991. Both identified palustrine forested wetland on the property and adjacent park land, but only delineated the small portion of wetland on the project property. The true extent of the adjoining wetland is unknown, but observations (most particularly the identification of locations of Lysichitum americanum or Skunk Cabbage, which is an Obligate species) indicate that the overall area extends throughout the North Creek Basin, effectively all the way to the shoreline.



The following paragraphs are taken from: CITY OF BURIEN, WASHINGTON ORDINANCE NO. 394 which is "AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF BURIEN, WASHINGTON, AMENDING TITLE 19 OF THE BURIEN MUNICIPAL CODE RELATING TO CRITICAL AREAS, AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF BMC TITLE 18, PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY, AND ESTABLISHING AN EFFECTIVE DATE".

This is what should happen using the current BMC and CAO.

City of Burien Critical Areas Ordinance, revised 2003
19.40.010 User guide.
This chapter establishes regulations pertaining to the development within or adjacent to critical areas. Many areas of Burien have been or may become classified as critical areas by the City or other public agencies. [Ord. 376 § 1, 2003]
19.40.020 Purposes and Goals.
The City finds that critical areas provide a variety of valuable and beneficial biological and physical functions that benefit the City and its residents. The beneficial functions and value of critical areas include, but are not limited to, water quality protection and enhancement, fish and wildlife habitat, food chain support, flood storage, conveyance and attenuation of storm runoff, ground water recharge and discharge, wave attenuation, aesthetic value protection, and recreation.
1. Purposes. The purposes of this chapter are to:
A. Implement the goals, policies, guidelines and requirements of the Washington State Environmental Policy Act, Chapter 43.21C RCW, Growth Management Act, Chapter 36.70A RCW and the City of Burien comprehensive plan which call for protection of the natural environment and the public health, safety and welfare, and allowing for appropriate urban development within the region’s urban growth area.
B. Regulate the use of critical areas in accordance with the Growth Management Act and through the application of best available science, as determined according to WAC 365-195-900 through 365-195-925, as amended, and in consultation with state and federal agencies and other qualified professionals.
2. Goals. By regulating development and alteration of critical areas and their buffers, this chapter seeks to:
A. Preserve and enhance the ecological value of critical areas to maintain the functional integrity of the natural environment.
B. Protect public health, safety and welfare by minimizing adverse impacts and risks associated with development in critical areas.
C. Preserve the quality of life in Burien.
E. Provide City officials with sufficient information, direction and authority to identify and if necessary, regulate development of critical areas; mitigate impacts on critical areas and enforce critical area regulations and permit conditions.
19.40.030 Relationship to other regulations.
1. Greater restrictions. When any provision of this code conflicts with this chapter or when the provisions of this chapter are in conflict, the provision that provides more protection to critical areas shall apply, unless specifically provided otherwise in this chapter or unless such provision conflicts with federal or state laws or regulations.
2. Multiple buffers. When more than one critical area affects a site and multiple buffers are required, all required buffers must be provided, unless specifically provided otherwise in this chapter. Where buffers overlap, the most restrictive buffer applies.
19.40.040 Applicability.
1. Compliance required. Alteration, development, use, and/or activities proposed within or adjacent to critical areas and their required buffers shall comply with the provisions of this chapter. Critical areas and their required buffers shall not be altered except as allowed by this chapter.
2. Identification and classification of critical areas. The Director shall identify and classify critical areas as follows:
A. Critical Areas Map. The locations of many critical areas in Burien are displayed on the City of Burien’s Critical Areas Map, which is hereby adopted by reference. This map is used to alert the public of the potential location of critical areas in Burien. As new environment information related to critical areas becomes available, the Director is hereby designated to periodically make such changes as necessary to the Critical Areas Map.
B. Actual site conditions. Regardless of whether a critical area is shown on the critical area map, the actual presence or absence of the features defined in this code as critical areas shall govern. The Director may require the applicant to submit technical information to indicate whether critical areas actually exist on or adjacent to the applicant’s site, based on the definitions of critical areas in this code.
3. Adjacency. For the purposes of this Chapter, land is “adjacent” to a critical area if it is:
A. Land that contains the required critical area buffer width and building setback;
B. Land within one hundred (100) feet upland from a stream, wetland or lake;
C. Land within 800 feet of a bald eagle nest;
D. Land within 200 feet from a designated critical aquifer recharge area;
19.40.050 Protection of critical areas.
Any action taken pursuant to this Chapter shall result in equivalent or greater functions and value of the critical areas associated with the proposed action, as determined by the best available science. All actions and developments shall be designed and constructed to avoid, minimize and restore all adverse impacts. Applicants must first demonstrate an inability to avoid or reduce impacts, before restoration and compensation of impacts will be allowed. No activity or use shall be allowed that results in a net loss of the functions or value of critical areas. [Ord. 376 § 1, 2003]
CRITICAL AREA STUDY
19.40.120 Critical area study requirements.
1. General. The critical area study shall be funded by the applicant and shall be prepared in accordance with procedures established by the Director. If appropriate professional expertise does not exist on City staff, the Director may retain experts at the applicant’s expense to review critical area studies submitted by the applicant. Expense to the applicant shall be determined at the pre-application meeting.
2. Prepared by qualified professional.
4. Minimum study contents.
D. Identification and characterization of all critical areas, water bodies, and buffers adjacent to the proposed project area or potentially impacted by the proposed project;
The developer's studies identified and defined a small portion of wetlands that is actually on the property in question. They also stated that the wetland extended into the adjoining Park property and appeared to cover an area of at least an acre. But no delineation of adjacent wetlands was done. In actual fact the wetlands appear to cover a significant portion of the surface of an area approximately 10-12 acres in extent. There are additional small patches of wetland further downstream of that area, extending to within a few hundred feet of Puget Sound.
19.40.130 Critical area study – modifications to requirements.
1. Limitations to study area. The Director may limit the required geographic area of the critical area study as appropriate if:
A. The applicant, with assistance from the city, cannot obtain permission to access properties adjacent to the project area; or
B. The proposed activity will affect only a limited part of the site.
CRITICAL AREA DETERMINATION
19.40.140 Determination.
1. General. The Director shall issue a written critical area determination as to whether the proposed activity and mitigation, if any, is consistent with the provisions of this Chapter. The Director’s determination shall be based on the criteria of BMC 19.40.100. The Director may require increased buffer widths, increased setbacks or other protective measures not required in this chapter if required in the critical area study.
BMC 19.40.300 states that the required minimum buffer for a Category 1 wetland is 200 feet. The Director has discretion to increase that. Pages 18-20 of the State Department of Ecology guidelines propose a buffer for Category 1 wetlands of 200 - 300 feet, with additional buffer width suggested for particularly sensitive areas. The same Ecology document states on page 18 that Buffers provide important habitat for wildlife which utilize the wetland and the buffer area for essential feeding, nesting, breeding, rearing and resting. For example, some waterfowl feed in the wetlands and nest in adjacent uplands while many amphibians spend the majority of their lives in forested areas and breed in wetlands. Without protecting adjacent upland areas, wetlands would not be able to support these wetland dependent species.
2. Review process and timing. The determination for proposed development on an undeveloped lot in a landslide hazard area shall be processed using the Type I review process and timing described in BMC 19.65. Determinations for all other types of proposals shall be processed as an administrative decision. The City’s goal is to issue the administrative decision within 60 days of submittal of a complete application containing the materials required in BMC 19.40.090.3.
19.40.300 Wetlands – Designation and Classification
1. General Requirements. Wetlands provide fish and wildlife habitat, flood storage, water quality, recreation, educational opportunities, and aesthetics. The goal of wetland regulations in the City of Burien is to achieve no net loss of wetland functions and values.
2. Applicability.
A. All wetlands meeting the federal definition of wetlands that lie within the City limits of Burien are regulated by this section.
4. Wetland Rating and Classification.
A. Wetlands shall be designated Category 1, 2, 3, or 4 according to the criteria in this section:
i. Category 1: Wetlands that meet any of the following criteria:
a. Documented presence of fish, wildlife, or plant species listed by the federal or state government as endangered or threatened or outstanding actual habitat for those species;
b. Equal to or greater than 10 acres in size and have three or more wetland classes as defined in BMC 19.10;
c. Association with a Type 1 stream;
d. Presence of plant associations of infrequent occurrence or High Quality Native Wetland Communities. Examples include: bogs and fens, estuarine wetlands, mature forested wetlands, or kelp and eelgrass beds; or
ii. Category 2: Wetlands that do not meet any of the criteria for Category 1, but meet any of the following criteria:
a. Greater than one acre in size;
b. Equal to or less than one acre in size and have three or more wetland classes as defined in BMC 19.10;
A. A buffer area shall be established adjacent to designated wetland areas. The purpose of the buffer area shall be to protect the integrity, functions, and values of the wetland area. Buffer widths shall be appropriate for the sensitivity of the wetland and for the risks associated with land use development.
B. The following standard buffers shall be established from the wetland edge:
Wetland Category Standard Wetland Buffer (feet)
Category 1*200
Category 2100
Category 350
Category 430
* As of October 20, 2003, no Category 1 wetlands exist in Burien.
* A Critical Area does not need to be listed to require consideration. The fact that it exists is enough to require that it be considered.

19.40.320 Wetlands – Permitted Alterations
E. Public and private trails may be allowed in wetland buffers only if:
i. The trail surface shall not be made of impervious materials, except that public multipurpose trails may be made of impervious materials if:
a) they meet all other requirements including water quality; and
b) a pervious trail has less of an impact on the wetland and its buffer.
ii. The use of elevated boardwalks for trails is encouraged.
19.40.410 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas – Specific Habitats
2.Aquatic Habitats.
A. All activities, uses, and alterations proposed to be located in water bodies used by salmonid fish species or in areas that affect such water bodies shall give special consideration to the preservation and enhancement of salmonid habitat.
The water that surfaces down the slope from the proposed development sustains the wetlands, which provides water for the salmon hatchery at the Marine Technology Lab.
19.40.420 Critical aquifer recharge areas – Designation and Classification
1. Purpose and Intent. The purpose of this section is to protect Critical aquifer recharge areas from degradation or depletion resulting from new and redeveloping land use activities. Due to the potential vulnerability of groundwater underlying certain aquifer recharge areas to contamination and the importance of such groundwater as sources of public water supply, it is the intent of this section to safeguard groundwater resources by mitigating or precluding future discharges of contaminants from new development activities and redevelopment activities.
19.40.430 Critical aquifer recharge areas - Performance Standards.
1. Prohibited activities and land uses - critical aquifer recharge areas. The following land uses and activities for new development or redevelopment shall be prohibited within or adjacent to Critical aquifer recharge areas:
H. Other
i. Activities that would significantly reduce the recharge to aquifers currently or potentially used as a potable water source;
ii. Activities that would significantly reduce the recharge to aquifers that are a source of significant baseflow to a regulated stream;
Seahurst Park has been the documented source of municipal and private water supplies in the past because of its steady year round springs. In addition, North Creek is a regulated stream and it has no primary source of water other than the wetlands in the upper basin, which could be affected by this development.

New Critical Area Ordinance Definitions
A
19.10.031 Aquifer -- A body of soil or rock that contains sufficient saturated material to conduct groundwater and yield usable quantities of groundwater to wells or springs.
B
19.10.040 Buffer -- A designated area contiguous to a landslide hazard area intended to protect slope stability, attenuation of surface water flows and landslide hazards. An area contiguous to a critical area that is required to protect the critical area and provide for the continued maintenance, functioning, and/or structural stability of a critical area. A buffer is measured outward from the edge of the critical area.
C
19.10.084 Critical aquifer recharge areas -- Those areas that significantly contribute to the recharge of aquifers used for potable water as defined by WAC 365-190-030(2). Critical aquifer recharge areas have prevailing geologic conditions associated with infiltration rates that create a high potential for contamination of ground water resources or contribute significantly to the replenishment of ground water.
G
19.10.233 Groundwater – Water in a saturated zone or stratum beneath the surface of the land or below a surface water body.
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Content Updated Mar. 4, 2008
Minor update November 30, 2008