Shoreline Master Program

The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) includes our community's goals, policies, regulations, and programs regarding the use, development, conservation, and restoration of our shorelines. The SMP is jointly adopted and administered by the City and the Washington State Department of Ecology under the Shoreline Management Act.

SMP Master Goal

The City’s shorelines are among the most valuable and fragile of our natural resources and their use, protection, restoration, and preservation is of public interest to all residents of the City. The Island shorelines provide for a significant part of our way of life as a place of residence, recreational enjoyment, and occupation. It is the intent of this program to manage the shorelines of Bainbridge Island consistent with the requirements of the Shoreline Management Act, the Shoreline Master Program Guidelines, and the Growth Management Act, giving preference to water-dependent and water-related uses, and to encourage all reasonable and appropriate development and other activities to occur in a manner which will promote and enhance the public interest and protect environmental resources. An over-arching goal of this master program is to ensure that future use and development of the City’s shoreline maintain a balance between competing uses, results in no net loss of shoreline ecological functions, and achieves a net ecosystem improvement over time. [SMP 1.5]

Current Edition: 2021 SMP
Effective Date: 03/05/2021
Markup Version: Ord. 2020-17 Exhibit A


SMP Administrative Interpretations and Regulatory Guidance Memos

No Net Loss Report Forms
Online Maps


Determining the Ordinary High Water Mark for Shoreline Management Compliance in Washington State  (Ecology)


  • Wetland delineation resources
  • WA State Wetland Rating System (Ecology)
    • Note: Lagoon and estuarine wetland types exist along many of our sheltered shorelines – see Chapter 6, Sections SC 1.0 and SC 5.0, for detailed guidance for rating these special wetlands.  Current City maps do not show these types of coastal wetlands.


Marine Shoreline [Stabilization] Design Guidelines  (WDFW 2014)


FEMA Habitat Assessment Worksheet

Shoreline Restoration Plan (2012)


Bainbridge Island Nearshore Assessment



Current Amendments in Process

Periodic Review

SMP_Engage Bainbridge Project Page

Recent Amendments

Critical Areas Ordinance Integration and Nonconforming Regulations

On November 24, 2020, the City Council approved Ordinance No. 2020-17, amending the City's Shoreline Master Program related to critical areas regulations and nonconforming structures, uses, and lots and amending several sections of Chapter 16.12 of the Bainbridge Island Municipal Code accordingly, as specifically identified in Exhibit A to this ordinance. A copy of the submittal package sent to Ecology is available here.

On February 19, 2021, the City received notification that the Department of Ecology has approved the amendment; a copy of the final approval letter is available here, and more information about the final decision can be found here

The SMP Amendment became effective on March 5, 2021.


A limited amendment regarding aquaculture (Ordinance 2016-06) was adopted by the City in 2016 and submitted to the Washington State Department of Ecology for approval.   During this time, a precedent setting case regarding aquaculture was decided against the Pierce County SMP.   Ecology could not approve the City’s proposed amendment and it was withdrawn by the City.  The City intends to develop a revised aquaculture amendment during the periodic review process that will comply with the precedent set in the Pierce County SMP case.