Development, redevelopment, and construction projects conducted by the port require a complex array of permits and approvals under federal, state and local laws.
Local municipality and county permits are required to cover local building codes and meet the requirements of the Shoreline Management Act. Federal and state permits are usually required when impacts to navigable waters or fish and wildlife habitat are anticipated. Development activities waterward of the "mean higher high water" (MHHW) for tidal waters are regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE or Corps), Washington State Department of Ecology (WSDOE), and the Washington Sate Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
In addition, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Fisheries) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) must concur that any project requiring federal approvals (a USACE permit, for example) is consistent with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). These agencies will require that proposed projects avoid or reduce project impacts on certain fish and wildlife species through design and/or environmental controls or mitigate impacts through restoration activities.