Protect the environment and enhance the state's quality of life, including air and water quality, and the availability of water.
The law requires counties and cities to designate and protect "critical areas," a GMA term that encompasses sensitive environmental features.
RCW 36.70A.030 Definitions. (5): "Critical areas" include the following areas and ecosystems: (a) Wetlands; (b) areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water; (c) fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas; (d) frequently flooded areas; and (e) geologically hazardous areas.
For critical areas, the definitions section of the Act at .030 includes (9) "Geologically hazardous areas" and (20) "Wetland" or "wetlands."
RCW 36.70A.172 Critical areas-Designation and protection-Best available science to be used. The GMA was amended in 1995 to include the requirement that local jurisdictions consider "best available science" (BAS) when establishing protection measures for critical areas.