In preparation for the GSH program, identify and map out any existing site conditions that will affect—or be affected by—your proposed project.
How to proceed
- Identify the characteristics to be preserved. Use the Existing Conditions Plan checklist (see the checklist for this requirement) to assess and map site characteristics and determine which ones need to be preserved and require protection during construction. This may include areas of permeable soils, vegetation, existing woodlands, streams, wetlands, riparian areas, significant habitat areas, and water storage areas. The range of site characteristics to cover will depend on the project being planned. An existing conditions assessment will likely require more detail for a green field site than a previously developed site or a site where only modifications to existing shoreline structures are being considered.
- Generate a drawing or image of your existing site conditions. The following example uses an air photo (likely downloaded from a web-based map site) to show existing conditions for a multi-property shoreline protection project.
- Take “before-project” photos of the site, noting the position from which the photos are taken on the Existing Conditions Plan, so that you can replicate that same perspective in “after project” photos.
If protecting your shoreline from erosion is part of your project, Chapter 3 of the Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines (Johannessen et al., 2014 – see full reference under “For more information”) provides additional useful guidance on what to include and how to conduct an assessment of existing site conditions. While written for marine shorelines, it also offers useful ideas for lake shoreline situations.
For more information
Check your local government for development application requirements, including site existing conditions assessments and site plans, for shorelines.
Johannessen, J., A. MacLennan, A. Blue, J. Waggoner, S. Williams, W. Gerstel, R. Barnard, R. Carman, and H. Shipman, 2014. Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington. 419 p. wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01583/