Friends of Pierce County


Image Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers

Join us this Wednesday January 15th for a Q&A and Public Hearing on the Proposed Blair Waterway Dredging and Restoration Project

Last year, the Port of Tacoma proposed to widen and deepen the Blair Waterway. This project would allow the world’s largest ships to more easily access cargo terminals, and other businesses like TOTE Maritime, Concrete Tech, Georgia Pacific Gypsum, and US Oil & Refining.

Stated benefits of the project are easier access for larger ships to unload goods and pick up cargo (particularly Washington agricultural products like grain, soybeans, and apples), less ship traffic, and regional economic growth. Additionally, the Port has proposed to use some of the dredged material to restore 64-acres of intertidal habitat at the Saltchuk site.

Unfortunately, this project comes with negative environmental and public health impacts as well. The Blair Waterway contains legacy contaminated sediments, some containing arsenic, lead, and volatile organic compounds. This project has the potential to reintroduce those toxins into Commencement Bay, impacting endangered salmon, orcas, and people. And while not specifically stated, we wonder how this project might help Par Pacific (formerly US Oil) further their goal of exporting crude oil to their Hawaii refineries.

Next week, there will be two informational sessions about the project. Each session will cover the same material. Members of the community are invited to learn more about the proposal, ask questions, and express concerns.

When: Wednesday January 15th | 2:00-4:00pm and 5:00-7:00pm
Where: Tacoma Public Library - Moore Branch | 215 South 56th Street, Tacoma
             Accessible on Bus Routes 1, 11, 16, 41, 45

If this project moves forward, we want to ensure that contaminated sediments are not reintroduced into our waters, that the fossil fuel industry isn’t given more room to grow, and that any restoration that is done benefits Commencement Bay. 

We are going to provide you with more information as we learn more about this project, and will help you draft your comments!

If you’d like to submit your own comments, they can be emailed to by Sunday February 16th.

Thank you for your continued care for Commencement Bay,

Erin Dilworth, MS | Policy & Technical Program Manager
Citizens for a Healthy Bay | Tacoma, WA
253-383-2429 x101

News Release





December 18, 2019


Planning Commission adds meetings on community plan updates


The Pierce County Planning Commission has scheduled eight additional meetings on the Frederickson, Mid-County, Parkland-Spanaway-Midland and South Hill community plan updates in early 2020. The commission is scheduled to makes its final recommendations on the updates in March.


Community plans provide direction on how growth and development will occur. The plans address topics such as zoning, transportation, the look and feel of the community, and access to services and amenities. An overview of the proposed changes is available at


Upcoming meetings

The meetings will be held at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th St. in Tacoma.


Several meetings will focus on the Centers and Corridors proposal, which would focus growth along Pacific Avenue/State Route 7, Meridian/State Route 161, 176th Street East, 112th Street East and Canyon Road East.


Two January study sessions are open to the public, but there will be no public testimony.

  • Jan. 7, 1-3 p.m.: Information about a concept that would allow the proposed Centers and Corridors rezones to be phased in over time.
  • Jan. 9, 1-3 p.m.: Information about a new approach to regulate design in the proposed Centers and Corridors zones.

Four public hearings will be held in February and March. Each meeting will feature a staff presentation, discussion by the commission, and public testimony about proposed changes presented at that meeting.

  • Feb. 4, 6:30 p.m.: Review additional draft proposed changes to the Centers and Corridors proposal.
  • Feb. 25, 9:30 a.m.: Results of the housing market study that provides a realistic estimate of additional housing growth related to the Centers and Corridors proposal for the Environmental Impact Statement. Environmental Impact Statements evaluate the environmental impacts of changes to plans and zoning and provide ways to reduce any identified impacts.
  • March 3, 6:30 p.m.: Review additional draft proposed changes to the Centers and Corridors proposal.
  • March 4, 6:30 p.m.: Review additional draft changes and potential amendments for the community plan updates.


The commission will make a final recommendation on each plan, associated development regulations, and amendments to the Pierce County Comprehensive Plan in March. There will be no public testimony.

  • March 10, 6:30 p.m.: Final amendments and recommendations.
  • March 12, 6:30 p.m.: Final amendments and recommendations.


The commission’s final recommendations will be submitted to the Pierce County Council. The council will then consider the proposed changes for each plan and determine whether to adopt them.


Visit to view a meeting calendar and sign up for meeting updates.


Written comment accepted
Written public comment will be accepted until March 4 for consideration at the final recommendation meetings. It can be submitted via email to or by mail or in person at Pierce County Planning and Public Works, Attn: Long Range Planning, 2401 S. 35th St., Suite 2, Tacoma, WA 98409.


Using community feedback gathered over the last few years, Pierce County and the Land Use Advisory Commissions for the four areas drafted updates to the plans and development regulations. The Planning Commission has held public meetings and study sessions this summer and fall to review the draft updates.

To learn more about the proposed updates, community members can call the Community Plans Hotline at 253-798-2799, email, or send a letter to Pierce County Planning and Public Works, Attn: Long Range Planning, 2401 S. 35th St., Suite 2, Tacoma, WA 98409.




Sheryl Rhinehart, Planning and Public Works public information specialist

A Win for Clean Water: $734,000 Settlement Reached in LRI Landfill Case

LRI Landfill

GRAHAM, WA—On December 10th, Puget Soundkeeper reached a legal settlement to resolve a federal Clean Water Act case filed in September 2017 against LRI Landfill, a 168 acre, privately owned non-hazardous landfill within the Nisqually River watershed.  The settlement requires LRI to pay $734,000 to fund third party environmental grants in the vicinity of the Nisqually River watershed and areas impacted by illegal discharges of landfill fluid, oils, and other contaminants caused by LRI’s failure to meet both Industrial and Construction Stormwater Permit standards.

Since the start of its construction in 1996, LRI has discharged stormwater to wetlands that lead to Muck Creek ( aka South Creek) – Nisqually River tributaries providing critical habitat for chum salmon, steelhead trout, and sea-run cutthroat trout.

Documented by the Washington Department of Ecology and Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, LRI’s list of violations also include failure to follow stormwater sampling guidelines; high levels of toxic chemicals such as copper, zinc, lead, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in their discharged stormwater; and failure to install technological improvements to effectively control their water pollution.

The settlement reached with Puget Soundkeeper also requires LRI to comply fully with all clean water permits going forward; to install site improvements to prevent future leachate leaks; to install an advanced stormwater treatment system for both their industrial and construction stormwater discharge, and upgrade it if sampling data shows it’s needed; improved handling of auto shredder residue to prevent it from becoming a pollution source; and share permit compliance reports with Puget Soundkeeper to track changes outlined in the settlement.  For a full list of settlement outcomes, view the Consent Decree.

“LRI Landfill has a long and complicated history of disappointing community members with its poor pollution track record – and we hope that today marks a turning point for this facility,” said Katelyn Kinn, Puget Soundkeeper Staff Attorney. “Moving forward, LRI has the opportunity to work to become a better neighbor. We look forward to tracking their progress, and holding them accountable.”

Puget Soundkeeper is an environmental non-profit whose mission is to protect and preserve the waters of Puget Sound. Since 1984, Soundkeeper has filed over 200 legal actions and all funds from successful settlements go to restoring polluted waterways in the region through the Puget Sound Stewardship & Mitigation Fund.

Puget Soundkeeper was represented in this matter by Claire Tonry, Richard Smith, Knoll Lowney, Katherine Brennan at Smith & Lowney PLLC and Soundkeeper’s Staff Attorney Katelyn Kinn.


  • ecology HQ


    November 18, 2019


    RE:      Ecology’s Notice of Final Action on Pierce County Shoreline Master Program Amendment


    Dear Interested Parties:


    The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) is pleased to announce its final action approving the Pierce County (County) Shoreline Master Program (SMP) amendment which was submitted in response to a Final Decision and Order in the Growth Management Hearings Board case No. 18-3-0013c.  The effective date of the County’s SMP amendment is November 18, 2019.  Ecology will publish a notice (legal ad) that starts a 60 day appeal period.  The expected date of publication the News Tribune legal ads is November 18, 2019.


    Documents related to this SMP approval will remain on Ecology’s Active Shoreline Master Programs website until the conclusion of the appeal period:


    On Ecology’s website you will find the following key documents:


  • ·         Ecology’s Approved as Submitted letter, dated November 4, 2019
  • ·         Attachment A: Findings and Conclusions
  • ·         Attachment B: Public Comment Summary


We sent this letter to you because your name is on an “interested party” contact list, you commented on the draft SMP previously, or you indicated that you want to be notified of any actions concerning the Pierce County SMP.


If you have any questions about this SMP update, please contact me at or (360) 407-6520.  If you would like a paper copy of Ecology’s documents or require this document in an alternative format, please contact Jackie Chandler at (360) 407-7678, persons with hearing loss can call 711 for Washington Relay Service, and persons with speech disabilities can call 877-833-6341.



Van Zwalenburg

Kim Van Zwaleburg

Senior Shoreline Planner          










October 14, 2019 at 6:00 PM

Sprinker Recreation Center, Rainier Room, 14824 C Street South, Tacoma, WA

Pierce County Parks and Recreation has released their Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan for public review.  Parks staff will hold an informational meeting for all Land Use Advisory Commission members.  The public is welcome to attend.  Public comment is limited to 3 minutes per speaker.

Parks and Recreation staff contact: Tiffany O’Dell, or 253-798-4254

The Tacoma City Council is currently recruiting for two positions on the Sustainable Tacoma Commission.


Members of the STC provide accountability, transparency, and vigilance in the long-term implementation of Tacoma’s Environmental Action Plan, including reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. STC members are expected to serve 4-8 hours per month, mainly by attending monthly meetings to oversee and encourage public involvement in sustainability in Tacoma.


The Commission includes a balanced representation of stakeholders, such as the environmental community, small business, labor, housing, industry and port, transportation, education, building industry, and residents. Candidates that represent the diversity of the Tacoma community are encouraged to apply, and there is particular need for those with experience in food insecurity or interest in sustainable food systems.


Applications will be accepted through Tuesday, October 8.

Visit to apply.



Patrick Babbitt
City of Tacoma, Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability
(253) 591-5173






Sept. 25, 2019


In-district Council meeting to focus on community engagement


The Pierce County Council will hold an in-district Council meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 1, at the Mid-County Community Center, 10205 44th Ave. E. in Tacoma. This in-district meeting will be chaired by Councilmember Marty Campbell, District 5 and will focus on community engagement.


Each member of the Pierce County Council hosts at least one in-district meeting each year to make meetings more accessible to the residents of Pierce County. There is time set aside on the agenda for residents and local elected officials to present to the council.


On the agenda for this meeting are the following presentations:


For more information about this meeting please visit the County Council webpage.



Erin Babbo, Communications Specialist

(253) 798-6248


Eco-Friendly Tips for Decluttering & Cleaning

Written by: Alice Robertson
Having a home that is free from clutter is important. However, having an environment that is free from pollution is even more important. So, if you have plans to declutter and tidy up your home in the future
make sure the methods you use are as good for you as they are for...Read more


Tenth Annual Feast on the Farm a Hit!

July 18th, 2019 marked the 10 year anniversary of our annual farm to table fundraising dinner, Feast on the Farm. Each year we have seen the event grow and are humbled by the support and generosity we have received from our sponsors and guests.

This year, we came together to raise over $151,000 in direct support of conservation and restoration initiatives in Puget Sound! This is the largest amount raised at Feast to date, and we couldn't be more grateful.

Thank you again to our amazing chefs, Branden KarowJason StoneburnerMutsuko Soma, and Brendan McGill,  our talented musician, John Van Deusen, Andrew and Wendy from Full Circle Farm on Griffin Creek
 , our generous sponsors, and of course all of the guests for making this year an event to remember.

Save the Date:
2020 Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit

Learn more about the event and see the themes, outcomes, and presentations of past summits at

If you are interested in sponsoring the 5th annual Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit, please email Amelia Bahr:

Get in the Field This Fall

Planning is underway for our fall volunteer events! Schedule a day with your coworkers, school, or community group to come out  and work side by side with our crew to restore critical salmon habitat in the Snoqualmie Valley. 

Learn more about Adopt-a-Buffer and how you and your team can get involved!
We will have a couple public events held on Saturdays throughout October (details coming soon).

Thank you 2019 Feast on the Farm Sponsors!

Host Sponsors

CP update banner




Date/Time: August 13, 2019 at 6:30 pm

Open House: 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Place: Pierce County Annex, Public Hearing Rm.-2401 S 35th St, Tacoma, WA

The Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing to review the Parkland-Spanaway-Midland Communities Plan Update and solicit public testimony on the proposed changes. The Planning Commission will take action on their recommendation on November 6 or 7, 2019. An informational open house will be held the hour before the meeting. For more information you may view the agenda or please visit

Questions should be directed to Long Range Planning staff at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th St., Tacoma, WA 98409, or (253) 798-2799.

Copyright © 2019 Pierce County. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy
930 Tacoma Ave. South, Tacoma WA 98402

How to Donate $$$ When Shopping on Amazon! 

Watch this short video to learn how to use Amazon Smile to donate moola seamlessly to any non-profit organization (and hopefully FOPC!):

Friends of Pierce County 2019 Annual Meeting Summary

Friends of Pierce County welcomed Erin Dilworth from Citizens for Healthy Bay.  Erin briefed attendees on the latest issues with the Tacoma Tide Flats.  The City of Tacoma is working on a Tideflats Subarea Plan. The City is putting together a stakeholder team to address a vision, environment, land use, economy, public services and transportation in the plan.

The most contaminated site in Commencement Bay (from Hylebos to Marine View Drive – and deeper than the height of the Tacoma Dome) is slated for cleanup.  A plan is currently being developed for what portions of this area will be cleaned up.  For more on Occidental Chemical Cleanup:

Erin Dilworth, Citizens for Healthy Bay, at Friends of Pierce County Annual meeting. March 19, 2019.

CVA Newsletter #42, December 2018

In its 14th year, the Donkey Creek Chum Festival attracted 850 visitors to the Harbor History Museum and CVA was there!

Key Peninsula/Peninsula/Islands Watershed Council Nets

$10,000 from Cider Swig Proceeds For Lu Winsor Grants

Barbara Ann Smolko of Surface Water Management accepts a check from the Greater Gig Harbor Foundation Board President Jud Morris.

With matching County funds and Peninsula Light donations, KGI will award around $25,000 in 2019 to individuals and groups who aim to enhance the natural environment through education or restoration projects in our area.

The next application round will be announced in March.

Watch for it on the KGI Watershed Council Facebook Page.

A Community Plan Amendment on native plant canopy is working its way through county hearings, next up is the Planning Commission, TBA in January.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT, Gig Harbor Community Plan, pg. E104

Goal GH ENV-14 The goal for tree canopy coverage shall be 75% within the Urban Sensitive Resource Overlay and the Rural Sensitive Resource zone to implement the Peninsula Open Space Corridors map.


Staff supports the proposal. Staff supports the proposal based on the following:

The proposal is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and Community Plan goals and

policies for the maintenance and restoral of native vegetation in the Rural Sensitive

Resource and the Urban Sensitive Resource Zones.

The Gig Harbor Community Plan’s direction to preserve native vegetation is supported

by supplemental plans such as the adopted Crescent Valley Biodiversity Management

Area (BMA) Stewardship Plan, which covers a large portion of the area that the policy

would apply to.

Our Crescent Valley Rural Sensitive Reserve area, farms and all, currently measures at 80% canopy coverage. Yay! (See CVA’s website to find the description on page 43 of the Stewardship Plan.) Besides enhancing our own properties, native plant canopy provides our neighbors these Public Benefits:

1. Free storm water management services. (i.e., slowing the rate of runoff, sending potential pollutants deep into the soil.)

2. Free aquifer recharge. (i.e., percolating rainwater deep through soil layers.)

3. Free anti-erosion services. (i.e., stabilizing slopes with root systems better and cheaper than bulkheading.)

4. Free cooling and warming services to our northwest soils and streams, as well as to our homes. (i.e., buffering the effects of strong winds, hard frosts, and droughts.)

5. Wildlife habitat. Our human developments punch holes in the web of life that grows timber and sustains salmon. Homes for birds, insects, and wild mammals are essential to preserve what our Community Plan calls “the nature of our community.” Neither the land, nor the nearshore, nor Puget Sound can remain healthy without preservation of substantial tree canopy.

6. Wildlife corridors. Wildlife must move from one type of habitat to another as the seasons change. Connected streams of tree canopy across our peninsula must be maintained because isolated patches of trees do not provide ecosystem services for wildlife or for us humans.

7. Human health and well-being. Trees scrub the air we breathe of pollutants while exchanging CO2 for oxygen. They cool and calm the human spirit.

8. Aesthetically pleasing surrounds. As much as the waters of the Salish Sea, trees are our view and our land value.

9. Carbon dioxide sequestration. Trees are an ally in reducing the percentage of the planet-heating CO2 in the mix of air we breathe.

Gosh, I hope I covered it all. (And did you know that some parcels larger than 2 acres can qualify for a tax rate reduction for providing these public benefits?) If you have questions or are interested in seeing the entire PDF for this amendment proposal, email Lucinda,

Draft of the New Buildable Lands document:


Looking for all Pierce County wetlands

In Washington, the existing statewide wetland maps (National Wetlands Inventory [NWI] maps) are out of date and inaccurate in many locations. They are based on imagery and data from the 1980s and do not reflect current wetland location and extent.

Additionally, wetlands are missing from the NWI maps. These errors of omission have been recorded to be as high as 50% in some areas, and may be as high as 90% in some forested areas. Inaccuracies and errors of omission are due in part to the difficulty of photo-interpreting certain land cover types. Also, many wetlands on agricultural lands were not mapped.

The NWI classified wetlands to identify wetland habitat types. It lacks abiotic information such as landscape position, landform, and water flow path, which can be used to predict functions and, in combination with land uses, wetland condition. To complete this project, the University of Washington will use remote sensing data sources, such as LiDAR, high-resolution aerial imagery, Landsat imagery, digital elevation data, hydrography, and updated soil maps provide an opportunity to address these known shortcomings. Moreover, recent developments in automated remote sensing technologies allow for more efficient coverage of large areas.

An improved, statewide map of wetland location and type is critical to the ability of local governments to protect wetlands. Under the Growth Management and Shoreline Management Acts, local governments play a critical role in wetland protection and management. They do this through comprehensive planning, zoning, and permit review. Planners and permit reviewers rely on existing NWI maps for these processes. A few local jurisdictions have conducted their own wetland inventories and improved their maps, but these are limited due to lack of resources, and none have predicted functions and conditions of wetlands. This leaves many local governments with inadequate maps and information on local wetlands, and the state with uneven coverage.

This project will improve the ability to more efficiently and accurately identify the location, size, and type of wetland resource. available as a publicly accessible, web-based map. Information about the maps, and any analyses using the data, will be disseminated through articles and presentations to state and federal agencies, and local governments and planners.


From Pierce County: 

The Regulation Roadmap for Agriculture is now posted on the Pierce County Farming website:  The Regulation Roadmap was developed to assist producers to identify possible permits and licenses needed to produce and sell farm products.  It also identifies the primary regulatory agencies dealing with farm products.



The Regulation Roadmap for Agriculture project is a partnership with the Agriculture Community of Interest, Pierce County Agriculture Program and Tacoma Pierce Health Department.



Diane Marcus-Jones  | Senior Planner | Pierce County Planning and Public Works| (253)798-2616 |

2401 South 35th Street, Room 175, Tacoma, WA, 98409-7490 |  |

Friends of Pierce County is a 501(c) non-profit organization. 

8205 90th Street Ct. NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98332

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