In the City of Sammamish, the only mapped and regulated flood hazard zone occurs along the Lake Sammamish shoreline. In addition, the City is required to ensure that development activities in the flood hazard zone are consistent with Flood Damage Prevention standards of SMC Chapter 15.10.
These requirements are needed, so the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) continues to provide subsidized insurance for properties within flood hazard zones. The NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The partnership requires Sammamish to meet certain conditions, including regulating development according to FEMA's minimum requirements.
FEMA's standards protect human health and safety and minimize the need for publicly-funded flood control projects. They restrict certain uses and require inhabited structures to be elevated on affected properties to ensure sound use and development activity.
Why is a Floodplain Habitat Assessment Required?
The required Habitat Assessment ensures that your proposal will not negatively affect several Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed species in the Puget Sound basin. Orca whales and Chinook salmon are both listed. While there are no Orca whales in Lake Sammamish, they could be affected indirectly by impacts to prey species. Chinook salmon are a major component of Orca whales' diet. The lake provides important habitat for migrating and rearing Chinook salmon.
The City knows that many property owners have been overwhelmed by the expectations and guidance for Floodplain Habitat Assessments. The City has coordinated with FEMA Region X and the State of Washington Department of Ecology to streamline expectations.
This website will guide you through the expectations for Floodplain Habitat Assessment, depending on the complexity of your project. It provides links to the information you will need.
How Do I Complete a Floodplain Habitat Assessment?
Use the following steps to determine the path forward for your project:
Step 1: Check for Exemptions
Check if your proposed project qualifies for a Floodplain Habitat Assessment Exception.
If YES, verify exemption with permit review staff.
Once verified, no additional habitat assessment is required.
- If NO, proceed to Step 2.
Step 2: See if Your Project is Minor
Is your proposal a 'Minor' project? Check the following lists:
- Minor Overwater Projects (many dock repair proposals qualify, as well as many new boatlift installation proposals)
- Minor Shoreline Projects (bulkhead removal projects and beach nourishment projects generally quality)
- Minor Shoreland Projects (some home and/or landscaping expansion activities and shoreline riparian enhancement)
If YES, proceed with completing the appropriate Floodplain Habitat Assessment Short Form.
Once the City approves your completed Short Form, no additional habitat assessment is required.
- If NO, proceed to Step 3
Step 3: Requirements for Other Projects
Your proposed project will require the completion of a more detailed Floodplain Habitat Assessment for Complex Projects. The City recommends the following course of action for completing the detailed Assessment:
- Contact the developer you are working with, or your architect or engineer, to get needed support.
- Hire a qualified habitat biologist (consultant). You and your development team will need this support to comply with Shoreline Management (SMC Title 25), Environmentally Critical Areas (SMC Chapter 21A.50), and Floodplain Habitat Assessment requirements.
- Use the City's Habitat Assessment Guidance/Checklist for 'Complex' Floodplain Development Projects.
- Contact the Permit Center with any questions.
The Habitat Assessment Guidance/Checklist should be the template for your project's Floodplain Habitat Assessment. The Floodplain Habitat Assessment should be completed by a qualified professional. Submit the Assessment with your floodplain permit application for City review and concurrence.
Where Can I Learn More About Floodplain Management and Endangered Species Protection?
For more background and explanation, see:
Have Questions, or Need More Information?
If you have questions, need more information, or would like to schedule a pre-application conference for your project, please contact the Permit Center.
Please contact the Permit Center directly at (425) 295-0531 if you have any questions regarding your submittal.