On Nov. 7, 2014, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted a comprehensive update of the state's Hydraulic Code rules, which regulate construction projects and other work in or near state waters to protect fish life.
The new rules will replace those contained in Chapter 220-110 of the Washington Administrative Code.
The commission, a citizen panel that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), adopted dozens of changes in the statewide rules during a public meeting in Olympia. The revised rules were developed by WDFW over the past three years with extensive public review.
Common projects requiring approval under the state's hydraulic rules include work on bulkheads, culverts, piers and docks.
In 2011, the WDFW initiated 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. The rules adopted by the commission establish new standards for Hydraulic Permit Approvals (HPAs), which set conditions for specific projects in or near state waters.
A Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement was completed for the updated rules examining their potential benefits and environmental impacts in comparison with three other alternatives.
Key documents related to the updated rules include:
- 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 Randall.Thurston@dfw.wa.gov