Critical Areas Regulations

Critical Areas Regulations Updates 

The City is performing an update of its Critical Areas Regulations to ensure compliance with adopted state legislation and coordination with the Redmond 2050 Comprehensive Plan. The regulations will also be reviewed for clarity, new information, and policy consistency.


What are Critical Areas?Lake Sammamish Beaver Dam April 2023

Critical areas are defined by their character and value. Areas that are determined as critical require special regulator attention to protect their intrinsic environmental value and/or provide for public health and safety.

Critical areas are appropriately designated by their type and any subset categorization for the purposes of regulation. Regulations are specifically tailored to effectively mitigate or prevent impacts and maintain the character, value, and function of critical areas.

Consistent with the Washington Growth Management Act, critical areas are recognized as fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, wetlands, frequently flooded areas, critical aquifer recharge areas, and geologically hazardous areas.

Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas are lands and streams critically important to maintaining specific types of fish, wildlife, and plant species. These areas help prevent isolation, fragmentation, and degradation of habitat and species populations by protecting the natural ecosystems. Many of these areas serve as migratory and unique habitat for bird nesting, fish spawning, and other wildlife activity. Habitat conservation areas commonly provide refuge for endangered and threatened species.

Wetlands are fragile ecosystems, which serve several important beneficial functions.  These areas are frequently inundated or saturated by surface and/or groundwater and often support vegetation that naturally is adapted to semi-aquatic or wet soils.  Wetlands come in a variety of types, such as forested swamps, open marshes, peat bogs, or a mixture of other such condition.

Kari's Bog Redmond Watershed Feb 2023


Frequently flooded areas are lands within a floodplain that are highly susceptible to flooding. Frequently flooded areas are defined as having a one percent change or greater in any given year of having a significant flood event. This is known as the 100-Year Flood. Flooding can come from a variety of sources, including streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands.Bear Creek Restoration at Friendly Village Jan. 2022

Critical aquifer recharge areas are any aquifer (groundwater) source used for drinking water that is both highly susceptible and vulnerable to contamination. The contamination of these aquifers is particularly susceptible in the area around the water extraction point and through permeable soils, permeable surficial geology, and groundwater close to the ground surface throughout the aquifer.

Geologically hazardous areas may be susceptible to erosion, sliding, earthquakes, and other geological events. They pose a threat to the health and safety of community members when incompatible development is sited in or near areas of significant hazards.  

As part of the larger Redmond 2050 update, the City is reviewing the Environmentally Critical Areas policies in the Natural Environment Element of the Redmond Comprehensive Plan. These policies provide for the protection of designated critical areas identified in the Growth Management Act. They will be reviewed for relevancy and consistency.

Documents for review

Join Us

We are seeking your input on this update. Come join us for in-person office hours from 4 – 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 22, in the Alpha/Bravo Conference Room at Redmond City Hall. RSVPs are encouraged, but drop-ins are welcome.