Habitat Conservation Plan
The Olympia Regional Airport and the City of Tumwater are located on the site of a glacial prairie historically called Bush Prairie after its most remarkable early resident, George Washington Bush, who settled in the area in 1845. Since then most of Bush Prairie has been converted to agriculture or forestry, residences, and businesses, but part of it still remains and provides a home for the unique flora and fauna of the South Puget Sound Prairie ecosystem.
The Bush Prairie Habitat Conservation Plan is being developed to balance growth and the preservation of endangered species within the City of Tumwater and its urban growth area (including the entirety of the Olympia Regional Airport). The Habitat Conservation Plan will conserve these species by providing long-term habitat protection across a system of managed reserve areas. The City of Tumwater and the Port of Olympia are jointly developing the Habitat Conservation Plan through the terms of an Interlocal Agreement.
The Habitat Conservation Plan will provide for long-term preservation and management of three species, protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, that occur in Tumwater: Olympia pocket gopher, streaked horned lark, and Oregon spotted frog. Protection of habitat for these species will also mitigate for the impacts of ongoing development, maintenance, and other activities performed by the City of Tumwater and the Port of Olympia, which have the potential to harm these species or their habitat.
The affected species will benefit from assured, long-term habitat protection. The people of Tumwater and the customers of the Olympia Regional Airport will benefit from a federal permit authorizing impacts to these species, which will facilitate planned development and maintenance work. The Habitat Conservation Plan is expected to reduce the costs and time that would otherwise be needed for individual landowners to comply with the provisions of the Endangered Species Act.
The stormwater management program is a major element of the Port of Olympia’s commitment to preventing, reducing and eliminating the discharge of pollutants into Puget Sound. We work closely with port tenants and the Washington Department of Ecology to minimize the potential for pollutants to enter Puget Sound from stormwater runoff flowing off impervious surfaces on port properties.
Federal and state water quality laws require a permit for discharges of rain water and snow melt into surface water (lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, inland waters and salt waters). The purpose of a permit is to control the quantity and/or quality of the water discharged to protect surface water and groundwater.
The Port’s properties are covered by two permits: The Marine Terminal is covered by the Washington’s Industrial Stormwater General Permit, issued by Washington’s Department of Ecology as part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Other areas of the Port’s property are covered by a Municipal General Stormwater Permit, also issued by the Department of Ecology as part of the NPDES program.
The goal of the permits is to implement and maintain best management practices (BMP’s) that identify, reduce, eliminate and/or prevent the discharge of specific stormwater pollutants into surface water. The Port accomplishes these goals by complying with its Stormwater Management Program (SWMP, for the municipal general permit) and Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP, for the industrial general permit).
- Best management practices to control potential pollutants
- Spill prevention and control
- Construction site stormwater runoff control
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination
- Pollution prevention / good housekeeping for municipal operations
- Post-construction stormwater management for new development and redevelopment
- Public education and outreach.
The Port of Olympia’s Marine Terminal maintains air permits, through the Olympic Regional Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) for stationary sources of air emissions and to ensure proper handling of cargoes that may produce dust. While these permits are legally mandatory, it is important to us that BMP’s be in place to ensure there are no negative impacts to either the environment or the employees that work on the Marine Terminal from any of our activities.
More about laws and regulations governing air emissions at the Port can be found on the ORCAA website.
State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)
The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) provides a way to identify possible environmental impacts that may result from governmental decisions. These decisions may be related to issuing permits for private projects, constructing public facilities, or adopting regulations, policies, or plans. Information provided during the SEPA review process helps agency decision-makers, applicants, and the public understand how a proposal will affect the environment. This information can be used to change a proposal to reduce likely impacts, or to condition or deny a proposal when adverse environmental impacts are identified.
More information is available on the SEPA process on the Department of Ecology’s website. If you have questions or would like additional information on SEPA at the Port of Olympia, please contact the Environmental Programs staff.
On September 28, 2015, the Port of Olympia Commission adopted Resolution 2015-12, which revised the Port’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) policy. The revisions include:
- Additional time to file administrative appeals of Port SEPA decisions;
- Procedures for requesting clarification or reconsideration of a Hearing Examiner’s decision of a SEPA appeal;
- Additional clarity around appeal procedures; and
- Adoption of a Climate Change Addendum to the SEPA policy that requires the Port to consider greenhouse gas emissions and the effect of climate change on proposed Port actions in the SEPA environmental review.