Fish Passage Project Permits Streamlined Process

Rule-making status: Permanent

Rule Making Reference# P2023-06
Rule amendments are necessary to align Chapter 220-660 WAC with RCW 77.55.181. Amendments to RCW 77.55.181 were passed into law as Substitute Senate Bill 5381 (Laws of 2021, c. 289) during the 2021 legislative session.

SSB 5381, titled Fish Passage Project Permits-Streamlined Review and Approval, was a bill passed during the 2021 legislature. It went into effect July 25, 2021. The bill included changes to Chapter 77.55 RCW, the law that establishes the Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permitting program.

The proposed rule adds elements from SSB 5381 so that the Hydraulic Code Rules are consistent with the law. The Hydraulic Code Rules establish regulations for the administration of the HPA permitting program. The subject of the changes is the Fish Habitat Enhancement Project (FHEP) streamlined HPA permitting process. The rule is amended as follows:

1. The Washington Department of Transportation (WDOT) may apply for FHEP streamlining using the online application system without also submitting a Joint Aquatic Resources Permit Application as previously required.
2. The FHEP streamlined permit review period for WDOT fish barrier removal project is reduced from 45 days to 30 days.

These changes occur in WAC 220-660-050 Procedures. Other sections of Chapter 220-660 WAC are unchanged. There are no anticipated effects on the regulated community as a result of this rule proposal because SSB 5381 has already been fully implemented.


SEPA information

This project is exempt from State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review under WAC 197-11-800(19)(a), which provides a categorical exemption for actions that relate solely to governmental procedures and do not contain substantive standards regarding use or modification of the environment.

Public hearing

WDFW conducted expedited rule making because the content of the proposed rule is specifically and explicitly dictated by state law. The expedited process exempts the agency from requirements to hold public hearings, prepare a small business economic impact statement, and provide responses to the criteria for a significant legislative rule.

No objections to the agency's use of the expedited process were received within the 45 day period.

For more information

Staff Contact: Theresa Nation at

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