Critical Areas Ordinance Update

The County’s critical areas regulations (Skamania County Code Title 21A) address wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, critical aquifer recharge areas, frequently flooded areas, and geologically hazardous areas throughout the County. All critical areas must be designated and their functions and values protected using the best available scientific information – known as best available science or BAS.

Skamania County first adopted its Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) in July 1997. Minor amendments were adopted in May 2005. A review of the ordinance was last completed in December 2014 which did not make any changes to the ordinance and the ordinance remains largely the same is when first adopted. As part of this review, the County anticipates the adoption of a revised Critical Areas Ordinance.

Why is the County updating its Critical Areas Ordinance now?

The Growth Management Act (GMA) sets forth various land use planning requirements for Washington's 39 counties.  As a partially planning county, Skamania County is required to address critical areas and natural resource lands in its GMA planning. The County is currently undergoing its periodic review of its Critical Areas Ordinance, and is required to review, and if necessary, update its critical areas regulations by June 2019.

Project Updates

The County introduced a draft Critical Areas ordinance update at a November 7, 2018, Open House held at the Hegewald Center in Stevenson, and invited the public to comment on the proposal through the end of January 2019. A combined Planning Commission/Board of County Commissioners workshop was held on May 21, 2019. The Planning Commission is now working towards final adoption of a revised Critical Areas code. The latest draft is available for download here.

Please check the Planning Commission's meeting calendar for information on upcoming meetings.

Draft Critical Areas Ordinance

A draft of the proposed Critical Areas Ordinance update is available for your review and comment:

Combined Draft Critical Areas Ordinance (07/2019 Draft)

The draft is organized into the following seven chapters:

  • Chapter 19.01 General Critical Area Provisions 
  • Chapter 19.02 Definitions 
  • Chapter 19.03 Wetlands
  • Chapter 19.04 Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas 
  • Chapter 19.05 Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas
  • Chapter 19.06 Frequently Flooded Areas 
  • Chapter 19.07 Geologically Hazardous Areas

Staff Contact

The project manager for this review is Alan Peters, Assistant Planning Director. Please contact him at with any suggestions or concerns or if you would like to be added to a mailing list for periodic updates. 

Skamania County is updating its Critical Areas Ordinance.
Office Location:
Courthouse Annex
170 NW Vancouver Ave.
PO Box 1009 
Stevenson, WA 98648


Office Hours: Monday - Thursday 7:30am - 5:30pm Closed Fridays & Holidays

Phone Number: (509) 427-3900




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2019 Annual Plant Sale

The Underwood Conservation District is accepting orders for low-cost tree seedlings and flowering shrubs through its annual native plant sale which runs thru February 28th. Visit or call (509)-493-1936 for more information.