McNary Shoreline Management Plan

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Most of the shoreline on Lake Wallula (the reservoir behind McNary Dam) is federally managed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Walla Walla District manages public shorelines around Lake Wallula including both the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the Tri-Cities area (Pasco, Richland, Kennewick) of Washington.

The 2012 McNary Shoreline Management Plan balances environmental stewardship, cultural stewardship and legal requirements with the public's desires for recreation. It updated a 1983 plan.

The shoreline plan addresses policies and procedures, shoreline allocations and requirements for permitting private use of public lands managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It spells out the permitting process for private community docks and private individual boat docks on the public shoreline, plus modifications to vegetation located on federally managed lands. The updated plan provides criteria for design and construction of private docks, plus vegetation modification.

The McNary Shoreline Management Plan does not apply to public docks such as municipal docks.

Public involvement was part of the multi-year environmental review process and included multiple public meetings, open houses and public comment periods. In 2011, the Corps completed formal Endangered Species Act consultation with National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal government's experts regarding endangered salmon, steelhead trout and bull trout. In 2012, the Corps finalized the plan and began accepting dock permit applications.

 Dock applications background and waiting list information

Applications for dock permit renewals or new docks were initially accepted during limited time periods in 2012. Community dock applications for groups of two to four households were encouraged and were accepted first. Importantly, community docks offer advantages of a larger dock float, shared expenses, serving more recreational users than an individual private dock, and lower economic impacts.

There are a limited number of new dock permits available. There can be a total of up to 100 docks on the shoreline at any time according to the updated plan. Since 73 docks or in-progress permit applications already existed in early 2012, there were 27 new dock permits available.

Private dock permit applications were initially accepted as follows:

Existing dock permit renewals: March 23, 2012 - Aug. 1, 2012
New Community Dock applications: March 23, 2012 - June 30, 2012
New Individual Dock applications: July 1, 2012 - July 31, 2012

Since fewer than 27 dock applications of all types were received by July 31, 2012, new permit applications for either community docks or individual docks continue to be accepted on a first come-first served basis. When a total of 27 new docks (of any type) have been permitted, the Corps will also maintain a waiting list of community or individual dock permit applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Those additional dock permit applications will be considered if and when a previous permit owner’s dock permit is not renewed.

Since Aug. 1, 2012, all new community or individual dock permit applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, regardless of the type of permit being requested. When each new dock permit application package is received, the application will be time-and-date stamped and a sequential number assigned. Should an applicant fail to complete all of the dock permitting requirements in a timely fashion, that applicant would be removed from consideration, and the next applicant on the waiting list will then be notified that they may proceed with their application process.

 Dock permit applications - How to get started

Ice Harbor Natural Resources Management Office is responsible for receiving and initial processing of McNary shoreline existing dock permit renewals, proposed new community private dock permit applications or new individual private dock permit applications. The Corps strongly recommends all dock permit applicants meet with a Corps representative early in the application process to discuss application requirements, procedures, and general construction timeline. Applicants should inquire about the number of dock permits remaining, or being placed on a waiting list if new dock permits become available in the future. Contact Ice Harbor Natural Resources Management at 509-543-6062 or 509-543-6060 or by e-mail at for assistance.

The 2012 plan allows for a total of 27 new private dock permits, which can be either community dock permits or individual dock permits. Both private community dock applications and private individual dock applications will be accepted until a total of 27 dock permits have been accepted, reviewed and approved.