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


Nuclear Power

Washington State was a hub of nuclear power development and research in United States from the 1940’s through the 1980’s. Activity is reduced at this time, but some research continues, and one commercial reactor is currently in operation. The center of the state’s nuclear power activity is at the Hanford Site, which is operated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The Hanford site is on the Columbia River near the Tri-Cities, and contains more than 60 percent of the nation’s highly toxic radioactive chemical waste. Much of this waste was not properly contained, and has resulted in some leakage into the air, water, and soil. However, the Hanford site also contains some of Washington’s last intact shrub-steppe habitats, large herds of elk, and has the last free flowing reach of the Columbia River which supports significant populations of Chinook and White Sturgeon.

Today, under the direction of DOE, Washington State Department of Ecology’s Hanford Division, and the Environmental Protection Agency, Hanford is undergoing the world's largest environmental and contaminant site cleanup. DOE along with the State of Washington and the Environmental Protection Agency collectively are working to clean up the site by the year 2024. WDFW’s Major Projects Team, in collaboration with other agencies and tribes, are working diligently under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to help ensure the fish and wildlife resources on site are protected and fully considered during cleanup. We have been working with DOE and other agencies to restore decades of habitat degradation on the Hanford site.

In addition to the Hanford site cleanup, WDFW major projects staff works with the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council to project operations and fish and wildlife activity at the Columbia Generating Facility, which is also located on the Hanford Site, but operated by a public utility. This is the last remaining nuclear plant operating in Washington state.

WDFW Major Projects Section also works with other environmental agencies to apply the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDA) Regulations to ensure all resources impacted by the releases are compensated for and restored. WDFW regional and headquarters staff work closely with other renowned scientists, to model and measure the impact of the affected resources from the time of the original releases and extending into the future. This provides the legal and scientific basis for quantifying the public's loss of natural resources. WDFW, in partnership with the Department of Ecology, is entrusted by the State of Washington to negotiate legal settlements or take other legal actions to ensure the restoration of damaged resources. Once a settlement is reached, WDFW and partners develop and implement restoration projects to ensure the public’s natural resources interests are protected.