Current Rule Making Activity

  • 2015-2017 Hunting Seasons and Regulations
    The department is considering rule making regarding hunting and trapping seasons, limits, and permits for big game, small game, and upland birds; GMUs and area boundaries; migratory bird hunting restriction areas and game reserves; hunter education instructor certification; hunters with disabilities; and amendments to other permanent rules regulating the taking of wildlife.

  • Designating additional catch areas in the Lower Columbia River
    The department is considering rule changes to designate additional catch areas on the Columbia River. New catch area designations are needed to aid in management of existing and emergent commercial fishing opportunities on the Columbia River. Evolving and emerging commercial fisheries require managing subsections of existing catch areas and/or designation of new catch areas. Some of these management changes are in response to the Columbia River Basin Salmon Management Policy C-3620.

    • CR-101 - filed as WSR 14-17-116 on August 20, 2014
      Invitation to discuss rules on this subject
    • CR-102 – filed as WSR 14-24-112 on December 3, 2014
      Notice and opportunity to comment on this current rule-making proposal

      Public Comment Period:
      Written comments are due by December 31, 2014
      Written comments may be e-mailed to:
      or mailed to: Joanna Eide, Rules Coordinator
      600 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501
      Fax: 360-902-2155

      A public hearing will take place on January 9-10, 2014, at 9:00 a.m.
      *Comfort Inn Conference Center, 1620 74th Ave. SW, Tumwater, WA 98501

      *NOTE: The public hearing location is incorrect on the CR-102 form. The venue was changed to allow for a larger meeting space.

  • Repealing WAC 220-52-01904 - Commercial geoduck harvest
    The department is considering repealing WAC 220-52-01904, Commercial geoduck harvest – License application and issuance process for 2015 geoduck diver licenses. WAC 220-52-01904 was adopted to create an on-boarding process for WDFW to issue 2015 geoduck diver licenses at the end of 2014 due to recent changes to state law limiting the number of geoduck diver licenses WDFW may issue to 77 beginning January 1, 2015. When WAC 220-52-01904 was adopted, WAC 220-52-01905, Commercial geoduck harvest – Geoduck diver license application and issuance process, was also adopted. WAC 220-52-01905 details the license issuance process WDFW will use after January 1, 2015, and will go into effect that date. For these reasons, WAC 220-52-01904 will no longer necessary and should be repealed after January 1, 2015.

  • New Combination Recreational Fishing Licenses
    The department is considering new rules to establish new types of combination fishing licenses. Chapter 77.32 RCW allows the Fish and Wildlife Commission to set the period of validity for a license and to combine licenses to one license at a fee less than the cost of the combined licenses. Creating new combination fishing licenses will increase participation in all angling activities, improve retention of customers, and grow revenue opportunities for the department.

  • Amend recreational fishing rules for the 2015 season and make technical changes
    The department must amend recreational fishing rules on an annual basis to respond to fish population changes, Fish and Wildlife Commission assignments, housekeeping needs, and conservation issues. The department is considering changes to the Columbia Basin, including adopting the Stream Strategy of all rivers will be closed unless open for Eastside and Southwest regions. The department may consider additional recreational fishing rule changes if necessary. The rule amendments will focus on perpetuating fish and shellfish resources while maximizing recreational fishing opportunity, ensuring conservation where needed, and making technical changes to clarify, correct, and update language.

  • Tufted Puffin Status
    The department is considering the addition of the Tufted Puffin to the state endangered species list. Listing criteria are described in WAC 232-12-297(3.1) through (3.4). The agency is initiating the listing process in accordance with WAC 232-12-297(5.1.1).

  • Steller sea lion Delisting
    The department is considering the removal of Steller sea lions from the state's threatened species list (WAC 232-12-011). Delisting criteria are described in WAC 232-12-297(4.1) and (4.2). The agency is initiating the delisting process in accordance with WAC 232-12-297(6.1.1).

  • Slope rockfish sorting rule amendments
    The department is considering amendments to WAC 220-44-050 and 220-69-230 to: (1) Add requirements for the reporting of slope rockfish species delivered into the state, and (2) Update agency contact information. Effective January 1, 2015, federal regulations will require the sorting of three slope rockfish species when landed into the state. This rule change is needed to effectively comply with the revised federal regulations and maintain or improve the accuracy of the department's catch accounting and port sampling efforts.

    • CR-101 - filed as WSR 14-17-119 on August 20, 2014
      Invitation to discuss rules on this subject
    • CR-102 – filed as WSR 14-21-173 on October 22, 2014
      Notice and opportunity to comment on this current rule-making proposal

      Public Comment Period:
      Written comments are due by November 18, 2014
      Written comments may be e-mailed to:
      or mailed to: Corey Niles, Coastal Marine Policy Lead, 48 Devonshire Road, Montesano, WA 98563
      Fax: 360-249-1299

      A public hearing will take place on November 25, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
      Region 6 Fish and Wildlife Office, Small Conference Room
      48 Devonshire Rd., Montesano, WA 9856

  • Amending coastal commercial Dungeness crab rules
    Revisions to coastal commercial Dungeness crab rules are needed to improve the intent and enforceability of rules that describe the process and requirements for issuing replacement buoy tags and submitting coastal Dungeness crab logbooks. New provisions are needed to implement gear retrieval requirements for coastal Dungeness crab fishermen to improve enforceability and minimize derelict crab gear. Based on recommendations from the Tri-State Dungeness crab Committee changes to the pre-season gear set period are needed to improve safety, enhance enforceability and provide for a coordinated season opening for the Washington and Oregon commercial Dungeness crab fishery.

  • Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) application periods rule change
    The department is considering rule changes to WAC 220-130-040, Review and selection process, relating to the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) application period. The proposed rule change would allow a biennial application period. A biennial period rather than an annual application period is needed to reduce staff workload and program costs associated with conducting an annual application review process.

  • Amend recreational bottomfish rules for Quilcene Bay and Dabob Bay
    In a response to a petition for rulemaking to open Hood Canal to recreational harvest of bottomfish, the Fish and Wildlife Commission directed to the department to initiate rulemaking to explore changes to recreational fishing rules for selected species of bottomfish in Quilcene Bay and Dabob Bay. Potential rule changes would provide recreational fishing opportunity on selected species of bottomfish consistent with conservation objectives.

  • Hagfish
    The Department is considering rule amendments relating to the commercial harvest of hagfish in the hagfish pot trial fishery.

  • Changes to Recreational Clam and Oyster Seasons on Puget Sound Public Tidelands
    The Department must annually amend recreational clam and oyster season rules on some public tidelands in response to shellfish population changes, shifts in recreational effort, conservation issues, and negotiations with treaty tribes and other state agencies. Such amendments are designed to perpetuate shellfish resources while maximizing recreational fishing opportunity.

  • Aquatic Invasive Species Rules
    The department is considering rulemaking involving Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) rules. The Legislature adopted ESSB 6040 (codified as Chapter 77.135 RCW) in 2014 which implements a more robust AIS program under the primary authority of the department. The department needs rules to implement the expanded program to provide additional protection against the spread of aquatic invasive species. Rulemaking will embody the principles of prevention as the highest priority, identify allowable certificate of inspection forms for aquatic conveyances entering the state, determine exemptions to clean and drain requirements where there is minimal risk of spreading invasive species, set inspection and decontamination station standards, and establish types of services department-authorized representatives can perform.

  • Technical changes to recreational fishing rules
    The department is considering technical amendments to department recreational fishing rules. Technical changes are needed to department rules related to recreational fishing that will not be addressed in the Sport Rules annual rulemaking process. These changes are needed as a result of a recent rule change to split up former WAC 232-28-619 into several separate WAC sections based on geographic areas, now codified in chapter 220-310 WAC. Edits to rules are needed to ensure the rules function as intended and for accuracy and clarity. The department may consider additional technical rule changes outside chapter 220-310 WAC as needed to promote consistency and clarity in department rules related to recreational fishing.

  • Commercial Fishery Rules and Fish Receiving Ticket Rules
    The Department is considering rule amendments relating to commercial fishery and fish receiving ticket rules to improve the intent and enforceability of rules that define, describe or authorize delivery of fish to shore-based facilities or dealers, and processing or freezing of catch onboard vessels at-sea.

  • Hydraulic Code Rules
    Proposed changes and purpose: The Hydraulic Code Rules, which detail the conditions under which hydraulic projects must be conducted to protect fish life, and administrative procedures for applying for permits authorizing those projects, have not been significantly updated since 1994. The department would like to revise these rules to result in clear application and permit-processing procedures for applicants and the department. This will enable the department through the best available science to prevent or mitigate the impacts to fish life and habitat posed by hydraulic projects.

  • Rules to allow temporary possession of live wildlife when transporting to a wildlife rehabilitator
    The department is considering changes to rules involving Wildlife Rehabilitation as required by session law 2014 c 48 s 25. The Legislature passed ESSB 6041 during the 2014 Legislative Session directing the department to adopt rules for permissible temporary actions that include, at a minimum, the conditions under which a person may capture or transport wildlife to a primary permittee, subpermittee, or rehabilitation facility.

  • Technical Rule Changes to Fish and Wildlife Rules
    The department is considering several technical rule amendments in various chapters of department rules to reflect industry practice, to update and clarify language and rule titles, and make structural improvements as part of WDFW's efforts to update and streamline its Washington Administrative Code. Changes may include consolidating or splitting rules for clarity of subject matter and may also include the repeal of rules as appropriate.

  • Cougar Public Safety Rules and Wildlife Interaction Rules involving Wildlife Control Operators
    The department is considering amending cougar public safety rules to address human-cougar incidents, cougar-livestock and cougar-pet depredations. The department is also considering amending rules regarding Wildlife Control Operators to adjust for organizational changes within the agency.

  • Wildlife Interaction Rules
    The Department is considering changes to Wildlife Interaction rules including management of wolf conflicts consistent with the state Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

  • Aquatic Invasive Species Rules Related to Aquaculture
    The department seeks to amend the rules related to shellfish aquaculture disease and pest control to provide additional protection against the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS).

  • Hunters and fishers with disabilities WAC changes
    The department is considering amendments to hunters and fishers with disabilities to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and to update, streamline and simplify requirements for hunters and fishers with disabilities.

  • Giant Pacific Octopus rule project
    Rule changes are needed to accurately reflect the location coordinates of the seven giant Pacific octopus protected areas. The department will consider making other technical changes to the rule where appropriate as part of this proposed rulemaking project.

  • Technical changes to WAC 220-52-042 (Commercial crab buoy tag provisions)
    The Department is considering amendments to WAC 220-52-042, Commercial crab fishery—Buoy tag, pot tag, and buoy requirements, to ensure it is clear that only current, department-issued buoy tags are used in the commercial crab fishery.

  • Possession of personal-use shellfish in the field
    The Department is considering rule changes related to possession of personal-use shellfish in the field. Changes to rules regarding possession of personal-use shellfish in the field are needed to make requirements clear and uniform, and to meet the practical needs of enforcement officers in the field. The department will specifically consider requiring recreational shellfish harvesters to keep harvested shellfish, beyond razor clams and shrimp, in separate containers while in the field so fish and wildlife officers can clearly identify limits. The department will also consider technical language and structural changes where appropriate, including potential consolidation of rules.

  • Hunting License Rules
    The department is considering amending hunting license rules to encourage public participation in hunting and outdoor recreation activities.

  • Columbia River Emerging Commercial Fishery rule project
    Rule changes are needed to implement guidance provided in Fish and Wildlife Commission Policy C-3620, Columbia River Basin Salmon Management, in the Lower Columbia River. The policy calls for development of fisheries that promote the use of alternative selective gear, such as purse seines and beach seines. The department may propose new rules relating to emerging commercial fisheries as part of this project.

  • Electronic Fish Receiving Tickets
    The Department is considering allowing commercial purchasers and receivers to use electronic fish tickets even if the purchasers and receivers do not participate in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Shoreside Individual Fishing Quota Program.

  • Charter stamp validation
    The department needs a rule to prohibit fishing guides and charter-boat operators from re-using charter stamps rather than issuing a new stamp to each customer who needs a fishing license. This practice defrauds the state of license revenue. The proposed rule will: (1) lay out the process for validating charter stamps so the stamps cannot be reused; and (2) ensure that charter-stamp-validation violations and the re-use of stamps are penalized appropriately.

  • Removing Steller’s sea lion from the Endangered Species list
    Steller sea lion is currently listed as Threatened (WAC 232-12-011). Delisting criteria are described in WAC 232-12-297(4.1) and (4.2). The agency is initiating the delisting process in accordance with WAC 232-12-297(6.1.1), based on a federal determination that the species is no longer in danger of failing, declining, or vulnerable.

  • Elwha summer/fall Chinook hatchery program’s revised Hatchery Genetic Management Plan (HGMP)
    This project is not a rule proposal. It is a revised Hatchery and Genetic Management Plan (HGMP) for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW’s) Elwha Hatchery summer/fall Chinook salmon artificial production program. The HGMP is available for a 30-day public review and comment period. The HGMP describes, in a format prescribed by NOAA fisheries, the operation of the artificial production program for summer/fall Chinook salmon in the Elwha River and the potential effects of the program on listed species. The HGMP will be provided to NOAA fisheries for consideration as a significant conservation measure under Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act.

  • Marking requirements for commercial fishing nets, reporting requirements for lost or abandoned commercial nets, and penalties for failing to report lost or abandoned nets.
    The Northwest Straits Initiative (NWSI) has removed 3,829 derelict fishing nets and 2,045 derelict crab pots since it began operations in 2002. More than 2.4 million animals were estimated to be entangled by the gear every year, including mammals, birds, fish, and invertebrates. Removing the gear restored 525 acres of marine habitat. NWSI estimates total gillnet loss since the 1970s to be approximately 5,600 nets. Changing commercial net-marking requirements, requiring commercial fishermen to report lost and abandoned nets, and penalizing a failure to report will allow the Department to identify the quantity and location of lost commercial net gear. This will assist derelict gear removal efforts, which in turn will reduce the number of animals lost to derelict gear and will help preserve marine habitat.

  • Development of rules regarding recreational access to Department Lands
    New rules are needed to implement the SSSB 5622, the Discover Washington Pass bill, to provide recreational access to Department lands.

  • 2011 Columbia River Recreational Sturgeon Fishing Regulations
    Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon meet annually to plan and set rules for lower Columbia River sturgeon fisheries to help meet annual harvest guidelines by setting appropriate retention seasons and to protect sturgeon in the spawning size segment of the population.  The Department revised the rules for 2011 based on actions adopted at the joint Washington-Oregon public hearing on February 8, 2011 that are consistent with Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission guidance for 2011 lower Columbia River sturgeon management and with the Joint State Accord on 2011-2013 Columbia River Sturgeon Fishery Management.

    In addition, language describing previously adopted rules for sturgeon in the Columbia River from the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco upstream to Priest Rapids Dam is clarified.

  • Removal of minerals, wood and artifacts from department lands 
    Certain resources on department-owned and leased land are being used in a manner not intended by the department. For example, large, old snags are being cut down for firewood. The department would like to prohibit this activity and make other changes to resource-use on its land.

  • Use of lighted buoys at the end of gill nets when fishing at night
    Requires commercial nets to have lighted buoys on the ends of the nets when fishing at night.

  • Non-Indian commercial fisheries
    Clarifies, defines and redefines definitions for different types of nets in non-Indian commercial fisheries.

  • Ballast Water Discharge Performance Standards
    This rule will set ballast water discharge performance standards and an implementation timeline for vessels of three hundred gross tons or more to meet those standards for adequately reducing aquatic invasive species risks in state waters. For more information, please see the WDFW Ballast Water Program Website.