WALLA WALLA -- The Army Corps of Engineers recently finalized its long-term effort to develop an updated McNary Shoreline Management Plan after six years of environmental reviews and public comments.
It updates an 1983 shoreline plan to comply with environmental laws, addresses 73 dock permit holder requirements and allows for 27 new private docks on the public shoreline.
Current private dock owners began to apply Friday to renew their dock permits, and new community dock permit applications for two to four households are being accepted.
Later this year, individual private dock applications will be accepted after community dock permit applications are considered.
"We listened to the public and did our best to incorporate input and arrive at a reasonable plan that balances requirements with the desires of the public," said Lt. Col. David Caldwell, Walla Walla District commander. "In this plan, environmental and cultural resources requirements have been balanced with recreation desires."
The updated shoreline plan provides guidance for managing the McNary reservoir (Lake Wallula) shoreline stretching from McNary Dam to the Tri-Cities in order to protect endangered fish and habitat.
The plan also addresses vegetation modification and maintenance activities for landowners adjacent to the federal shoreline, whether or not they have a dock. It does not apply to public docks such as municipal docks, which are subject to other requirements.
Existing dock owners will receive a letter from the Corps outlining what they need to do to renew their existing dock permits. The Corps requests those dock owners apply for a permit renewal by Aug. 1.
Most of the 73 existing docks may be allowed to remain per the conditions of the 2011 dock inspection if the dock is in a safe condition and has not been extensively modified without authorization.
The application window that opened Friday for new community dock applications works on a first-come, first-serve basis and closes June 30.
New individual dock applications will be accepted July 1-31 if any of the 27 allowable new dock permits remain available after community dock applications are processed. If more individual dock applications are received than the total number of remaining permits available, then a random lottery drawing will be held by the corps.
Detailed information and a copy of the shoreline plan are available on the district website at nww.usace.army.mil/McNaryShoreline/default.asp or by calling the Corps' Ice Harbor Natural Resources Management office at 509-543-6062 or 509-543-6060.