Please note: You will receive an invoice which includes instructions for payment. Payments must be received at least two weeks prior to the class date to secure your registration. Cancellations must also be received at least two weeks prior to be eligible for a refund.

Eastern Washington: How to Determine the Ordinary High Water Mark (virtual with field site visit on October 2nd in Spokane County)

  • Monday, September 30, 2024
  • Wednesday, October 02, 2024
  • 3 sessions
  • Monday, September 30, 2024, 9:00 AM 12:30 PM (PDT)
  • Tuesday, October 01, 2024, 9:00 AM 12:30 PM (PDT)
  • Wednesday, October 02, 2024, 9:00 AM 4:30 PM (PDT)
  • Virtual - Zoom w/ field site visit in Spokane County. See the event details for more information.
  • 9



This training provides information and methods for determining the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) as defined in the state Shoreline Management Act (SMA). Waters regulated under the SMA include all tidal waters, streams greater than 20 cubic feet per second mean annual flow, water bodies greater than 20 acres in size, and any associated wetlands and deltas.       

In this training, you will learn answers to these questions:      

  • How is the OHWM defined and where does it apply?
  • What is the regulatory context and history of the OHWM?
  • Why it is important to use field indicators to determine the OHWM?
  • What are the most reliable field indicators on tidal waters, streams, lakes, and associated wetlands?
  • What are some common misconceptions about OHWM determinations?

The three-day training includes two virtual sessions that will take place on Zoom on September 30 and October 1st (9:00 AM - 12:30 PM)On October 2nd, the participants will complete the field component of the training. Participants will practice how to determine the OHWM at four field sites in Spokane County with an instructor. Please block your calendar from 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM for the field component. 

Please email the Coastal Training Program ( if you require an accommodation for this training (audio, visual, mobility, or other). Additionally, the program can offer a couple of scholarships to cover the registration fees with each training. Please reach out if you need a scholarship in order to participate in the training.



Chris Luerkens works in Ecology’s Bellingham Field Office, where he has been a shoreline and wetlands permit specialist since 2018. His work is largely focused on reviewing permits, and providing technical assistance to local jurisdictions, including Ordinary High Water Mark determinations. Chris has a BS in environmental science from WWU and has been working in natural resource management since 2005. His background includes work in water quality, fisheries, and local government as a planner.  

Zach Meyer came to Ecology in 2015 from the University of Washington where he got his Master’s Degree in Marine and Environmental affairs and taught introductory biology. At Ecology, Zach has served as a shoreline planner, wetland and shoreline specialist, and since June 2022 has had the role of Wetlands and Shorelands Technical and Regulatory Lead.

Lynn Schmidt is the Department of Ecology’s Statewide Flood Engineer, focusing on reducing flood risks to communities while enhancing natural floodplain functions. Her career has spanned a wide range of topics within the environmental and hydraulics engineering fields, including hydraulic modeling, river restoration, floodplain management, stormwater management, environmental investigations, and monitoring. Lynn holds a BS in Civil Engineering, MS in Environmental Engineering, and is a Professional Engineer and Certified Floodplain Manager.

Leah Beckett is a Wetland Specialist with Ecology working out of the Northwest Region Office.  Prior to Ecology, Leah had roles with city, state, and federal governments in wetlands and hydrological research, and taught biology and ecology courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. She earned a Ph.D. and a M.S. in Wetland Ecology from the University of Maryland and a B.S. in Ecology from Brevard College.

Doug Gresham is a wetland specialist in Ecology’s Northwest Region, and he has 24 years of consulting experience in wetlands, fisheries, water quality monitoring, mitigation design and monitoring, construction inspection, and permitting. He provides technical assistance on wetland protection to government agencies and consultants within King, Snohomish, Skagit, and San Juan Counties.  He also conducts verification of consultant’s wetland delineations and ordinary high water mark determinations, and assesses the adequacy of their mitigation site designs and monitoring programs.

Washington State Department of Ecology 


© Padilla Bay Reserve

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software