OLYMPIA -- With a single telephone call, the Washington Department of Fish
and Wildlife can issue emergency permits to landowners for work in flooding streams
and rivers to protect life and property.
That single call will enable people to make necessary repairs while minimizing
damage to fish habitat and meet the law's requirement that such work receive hydraulic
project approval from the department.
The permits apply when work within the ordinary high water marks of rivers and
streams is proposed. Normally, the free permit is granted by the department on a non-emergency basis after landowners file Hydraulic Project Applications (HPA's). The
review normally takes two to four weeks.
During severe flooding where life or property are threatened, WDFW will issue
emergency HPA approvals over the phone and complete the permit paperwork
afterwards. To help public and private landowners move forward as quickly as possible
to reduce flood damage, WDFW is encouraging landowners to contact the
department's biologists for their areas or the local WDFW office at the numbers listed
below as soon as they know they may need to do instream work. Whenever possible,
WDFW biologists will offer technical assistance to make sure the work protects property
and fish habitat for the long term.
All landowners experiencing or anticipating flood damage this season, whether
they be county/city governments, farmers, or others with streamside property, can be
assisted now by contacting their local WDFW habitat biologist or the closest WDFW
office (Spokane: 509-456-4082; Ephrata: 509-754-4624; Yakima: 509-457-2740;
Wenatchee: 509-662-0452; Mill Creek: 206-775-1311; Vancouver: 360-696-6211;
Montesano: 360-586-6129.) A 24-hour emergency hotline number is also available at
(360) 902-2534 for night and weekend emergencies.