Habitat - Hydraulic Project Approval
Date Published: December 2007
Number of Pages: 269
Author(s): Herrera Environmental Consultants, Inc.
In 2006 and 2007, WDFW contracted with Anchor Environmental, Herrera Environmental Consultants, Jones & Stokes Associates, and R2 Resource Consultants to develop a series of “white papers” documenting the state of the science on a range of topics related to HPAs. The original white papers were peer-reviewed by a panel of experts outside of WDFW.
In developing the white papers, the consultants were working under specific time, scope, and cost constraints established by WDFW. These constraints were designed to further WDFW's specific goal of building a scientific foundation for a Habitat Conservation Plan for hydraulic projects that receive HPAs.
The white papers provide a solid scientific foundation upon which to build conservation measures for avoiding potential impacts, but they are not an exhaustive review of every potential impact of hydraulic projects. Rather, they reflect WDFW’s goal of establishing a solid scientific foundation for the HCP with limited time and financial resources.
Despite these constraints, WDFW is confident that a large proportion of the current scientific literature has been incorporated into the white papers. As WDFW continues to develop the Habitat Conservation Plan, we will also continue to assess new science, fill data gaps, and listen to the advice of scientists and hydraulic project construction specialists.
The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) directs the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to “preserve, protect, perpetuate, and manage” the fish and wildlife species of the state as its paramount responsibility (RCW 77.04.012). Under RCW 77.55, any construction or work that uses, diverts, obstructs, or changes the natural bed or flow of state waters requires a Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) issued by WDFW. The purpose of the HPA program is to ensure that these activities are completed in a manner that prevents damage to public fish and shellfish resources and their habitats. To ensure that the HPA program complies with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), WDFW is developing a programmatic multispecies Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to obtain an Incidental Take Permit (ITP), in accordance with Section 10 of the ESA, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service (also known as NOAA Fisheries). For WDFW, the benefits of an HCP are to contribute to the long-term conservation of both listed and unlisted species through the minimization and mitigation of impacts on those species and their habitats, while ensuring that WDFW can legally proceed with the issuance of HPAs that could otherwise result in the incidental “take” of ESA-listed species (as defined in the ESA; see Section 9 [Potential Risk of Take] of this report for a definition of “take”).
The HCP will identify the impacts on those aquatic species considered for coverage under the HCP (referred to as “HCP species”), the potential for take, and mitigation measures for hydraulic projects that require HPAs. This white paper is part of the effort to compile the best available scientific information to protect these species during the creation, construction, maintenance, repair, replacement, modification, operation, and removal (hereafter referred to as construction, operation, and repair) of hydraulic projects. To accomplish this, WDFW is analyzing the adequacy of existing rules (Washington Administrative Code [WAC] 220-110), as well as possible management directives and mitigation measures, to avoid and/or minimize potential take to the maximum extent practicable. As the HPA authority covers all waters of the state, this white paper considers hydraulic project impacts in both freshwater and marine environments. This white paper is one of a suite of white papers prepared to establish the scientific basis for the HCP and assist WDFW decision-making with regard to what specific HPA activities should be covered by the HCP and what minimization and mitigation measures can be taken to address the potential effects of hydraulic projects. This white paper addresses impacts and mitigation/minimization measures to be applied to marinas and shipping/ferry terminals (hereafter referred to as marinas/terminals). Species covered under the HCP are listed in Table 1-1. For the purpose of this white paper, some of the HCP species have been grouped when applicable (each group is separated by a gray-colored line in Table 1-1). This white paper only addresses the effects of construction, operation, and repair of marinas/terminals, including discharges and effects associated with the facility and vessels using the facility. Marinas typically include considerable shoreline modification structures in the form of breakwaters, bulkheads, and nearshore buildings; the effects of these shoreline modifications are covered in a separate white paper (Shoreline Modifications, Herrera 2007a).