Seattle’s Environmentally Critical Area (ECA) code governs areas of Seattle that provide critical environmental function or that represent particular challenges for development due to geologic or other natural conditions. The goal of ECA regulations (SMC 25.09) is to effectively protect the contribution of these areas to habitat, water quality protection, and public safety, while allowing reasonable development in our growing city.
The following areas have been designated as Environmentally Critical Areas:
- Fish and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Areas including
- Riparian Corridors
- Shoreline (also governed by Shoreline Master Program SMC 23.60)
- Species Habitat Management Plans
- Steep Slope Erosion Areas
- Geologic Hazard Areas including
- Flood-prone Areas
- Abandoned Landfills
The City of Seattle protects these areas through specialized regulations and maintains additional safeguards to ensure safe, stable, and compatible construction that avoids adverse impacts to habitat, water bodies and neighboring properties. These safeguards may include tree and vegetation protections, water quality regulations, and development setbacks around sensitive areas, as well as mandatory construction best practices to prevent landslides and ensure building stability.
This website provides resources to help citizens identify Environmentally Critical Areas on or near their property and understand the protections that exist for these areas. It also includes links to existing resources and efforts that may help landowners protect the unique qualities of these areas through proper care of buildings, outdoor areas, and existing habitat.