For more information on habitat issues, please contact the
WDFW Habitat Program.
Phone: 360-902-2534

For more information on WDFW managed lands including wildlife areas, please contact the
WDFW Wildlife Program.
Phone: 360-902-2515


Regional Energy Managers


Hydroelectric Power

For more information:

Hydropower Flow Fluctuations and Salmonids: A Review of the Biological Effects, Mechanical Causes, and Options for Mitigation (WA Department of Fisheries Technical Report 119)

Washington State is the largest producer of hydropower in the nation, and as of 2007, we rely on this resource for approximately 75% of our electricity. Although considered a renewable resource, hydropower dams can have significant impacts on aquatic and terrestrial resources and habitats.

Mitigation biologists assist with the writing, review and implementation and of management plans designed to address impacts associated with hydroelectric projects. This work is focused upon hydropower licensed through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Federal Clean Water Act, Section 401 certification of private and public utilities that own and maintain hydropower projects or are applying for a new license to generate hydropower in Washington State. The primary goal of the project review is the development of comprehensive mitigation for environmental impacts resulting from the construction and operation of hydroelectric dams.

FERC mandates that any licensed hydropower project must mitigate and/or compensate for these impacts in a License Application process that involves several State, Federal, local, private and non-profit organizations. These organizations often include the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Washington State Department of Ecology (WDOE) and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF). It is the responsibility of the Division Staff to represent the interests of the State and it’s citizens in protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and their habitats in accordance with State and Federal environmental laws; such as the Federal Power Act (FPA), the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Staff utilizes the knowledge of various regional biologists, as well as experts from other State, Federal and private organizations in an effort to better understand impact of hydroelectric projects on natural resources, and to prescribe mitigations to compensate for those impacts.

Mitigation biologists work statewide with project owners and stakeholders assessing impacts and pursuing mitigation opportunities for each project. In an effort to make informed decisions about project mitigation opportunities, Division staff work collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders, local experts and species specialists.