SEATTLE -- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife today reminded
owners of marinas and boathouses damaged during recent storms that they must
obtain department approval before making repairs in water.
Under state law, a person must receive a hydraulic permit from the department
before performing work in fresh or saltwater. The regulation is aimed at protecting fish
and shellfish and their habitat.
"Many people simply don't realize they need to get in touch with us before
making repairs," said John Boettner, a habitat specialist in the department's northern
Puget Sound region.
"In most cases, the permit can be issued quickly and, in the case of
emergencies, over the phone," he added.
Numerous marinas and boathouses throughout the Puget Sound region
sustained substantial damage when snow accumulated on roofs and caused the
structures to collapse, Boettner said.
That, in turn, created potential problems for fish and shellfish because of the
materials used to construct some of the structures, he said.
"For example, the exposed styrofoam used for floatation devices at a number of
these damaged marinas and boathouses is a major concern to us if it breaks loose."
Boettner said. "Not only does it wind up on beaches and other places where it harms
habitat, but fish and other wildlife eat it."
"We're trying to work closely with marina and boathouse owners to find
alternative construction materials that hopefully will decrease potential problems when
storms occur in future years," Boettner said.
Marina and boathouse owners can reach the department's Habitat Program in
the Tacoma, Seattle and Everett areas by calling (206) 775-1311. Or they can call the
department's Olympia office at (360) 902-2200.