Floodplain Requirements

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 occurring in the flood hazard zone occur consistent with Flood Damage Prevention standards of SMC Chapter 15.10.

These requirements occur in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the agency responsible for administering the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP provides subsidized insurance for properties within flood hazard zones, as long as Sammamish meets certain conditions, including regulating development according to FEMA's minimum requirements. These standards work to protect human health and safety, minimize the need for publicly-funded flood control projects, and ensure sound use and development activity on affected properties primarily though restrictions on certain uses and requiring elevation of inhabited structures. 

Why is a Floodplain Habitat Assessment Required?

All floodplain development projects must complete a Floodplain Habitat Assessment. A Habitat Assessment is required to ensure that your proposal will not result in negative effects on several Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed species in the Puget Sound basin, including Chinook salmon and Orca whales. There are no Orca whales in Lake Sammamish, but the lake does provide important habitat for migrating and rearing Chinook salmon, a major component of Orca whales’ diet. 

The City knows that Floodplain Habitat Assessment expectations and guidance from FEMA Region X and the State of Washington Department of Ecology has been overwhelming for many property owners. The City has coordinated with these agencies to streamline expectations, depending on the complexity of your project. This website is intended to guide you through expectations for Floodplain Habitat Assessment and provides links to the information that 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 to see 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
– 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 (links above)

Once your completed Short Form is approved by the City, no additional habitat assessment is required.

If NO, proceed to Step 3

 

Step 3 – Your proposed project will require 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 used as the template for your project’s Floodplain Habitat Assessment. Once completed by a qualified professional, the Assessment should be submitted with your floodplain permit application for City review and concurrence.