Critical Areas

The County Board of Commissioners have enacted critical area protection regulations for areas in unincorporated Grays Harbor County (areas outside of incorporated city and town limits).  The purpose of these regulations are to identify and protect the value and function of critical areas while allowing for the reasonable use of private and public property.  

Critical areas consist of wetlands, critical aquifer recharge areas, frequently flooded areas, geologically hazardous areas, and fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas.  The county finds that critical areas provide a variety of valuable functions and values that benefit the citizens and economy of the county, and/or may pose a threat to human safety, or to public and private property.  The regulations in Chapter 18.06 are intended to protect critical areas in accordance with the Growth Management Act, Chapter 36.70A RCW and through the application of the best available science, as determined per WAC 365-195-900 though 365-195-925, and in consultation with state and federal agencies and other qualified professionals.  It is not the intent of this chapter to make a parcel of private property unusable by denying its owner reasonable economic use of the property.


Critical Protection Areas and the Planning Process

Site plan review of a project ensures that critical resource areas are protected in accordance with the rules of Title 18.06 of the Grays Harbor County Code.  This review is required prior to submitting Permit applications and is valid for two (2) years from the date of approval.  The review is advisory only.  Future permit applications will be reviewed to current regulations when a complete application is submitted.

Mapping Tools

  1. FEMA's National Flood Hazard Viewer - Frequently Flooded Areas
  2. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Wetlands Mapper
  3. WA DNR Forest Practices Application Mapping Tool
  4. Shoreline Environment Designation Maps
  5. Permit History Search Tool
  6. Parcel Search Tool
  7. Assessor MapGeo Tool

Grays Harbor County
Planning Division

updated 6-6-2024


  • Posting Date: 06-06-2024    End Date: Open until filled