For more information on the Hydraulic Permit Application (HPA) Program, please contact:
WDFW Habitat Program
(360) 902-2534

Photo of flow control work being conducted in the Chelan River. Two excavators are working on a bank and in the water.

Commission to consider updating
Washington’s hydraulic code rules

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider approving broad-based updates to the state’s Hydraulic Code rules at a meeting scheduled Nov. 7-8, 2014, in Olympia. An agenda for the meeting is available on the commission’s website.

The commission, a nine-member panel that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), held a public hearing on the proposed rules in August and is now scheduled to consider adopting them into law.

Designed to protect fish life, the state’s Hydraulic Code (Chapter 77.55 RCW) authorizes WDFW to establish rules for construction projects, mineral prospecting and certain other activities conducted in or near state waters. Projects subject to those rules include work on bulkheads, culverts, piers, and docks.

Since 2011, WDFW has been engaged in a public process to develop and review new rules that respond to changes in environmental science, technology, and state law since the last comprehensive update in 1994. If adopted by the commission, those rules will establish new standards for Hydraulic Permit Approvals (HPAs), which set conditions for specific projects in or near state waters.

WDFW's proposal to update the state's Hydraulic Code rules is subject to review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). A Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement was completed for this proposal that examines its potential benefits and environmental impacts in comparison with three other alternatives.

Key documents related to WDFW’s proposal include:

Proposed HPA Rules

  • Proposed HPA Rules:  Final rule revisions will be posted here before the Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting on November 7.

Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)

Document sections

Key dates in the rulemaking process:

  • July 28, 2011 – WDFW files a Preproposal Statement of Inquiry (CR-101), announcing its plan to seek changes in the Hydraulic Code rule. This is the first step in the rulemaking process under the Administrative Procedure Act.
  • October 2013 – WDFW prepared Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS), outlining potential impacts of the proposed changes.
  • July 2, 2014 – WDFW filed Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (CR-102) providing public notice of the proposed rule changes and the opportunity to comment on those changes.
  • July 16, 2014 – WDFW prepared Supplemental Draft PEIS, incorporating comments received during the first public comment period.
  • July 16, 2014 – The proposed rules changes, CR-102, and Small Business Economic Impact Statement were published in the Washington State Register. WDFW staff continued to meet with stakeholders and tribes to clarify and revise the proposed rules as necessary.
  • August 8, 2014 –The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission conducted a public hearing on the proposed rule changes.
  • October 27, 2014 - WDFW prepared Final PEIS, incorporating comments received during the second public comment period.
  • November 7, 2014 – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider adoption of the proposed changes to the state's Hydraulic Code rules.

For further information: Contact Randi Thurston at