Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is currently updating the City’s Shoreline Master Program, which regulates land use and development on and near the City’s shorelines. As a part of this update, which is slated for completion around December 2010, the City has carried out a comprehensive study of the relative health of Seattle’s shorelines. The report, entitled Seattle Shoreline Characterization Report (available on DPD’s website here), classifies the relative health of Seattle’s shorelines from "Least Impaired" to "Most Impaired" based on a number of factors relating to shoreline ecological functions. Among the areas classified as "Most Impaired" are Lake Union and its Ship Canal, the Duwamish near Harbor Island, and the Downtown Waterfront.Given the State Department of Ecology’s mandate that local Shoreline Master Programs protect "ecological functions of the shorelines," owners of land near the more "impaired" shorelines may see stricter regulations of land use and development under the updated Shoreline Master Program. Public comments on the report are being accepted through April 16, 2009.