Submitting a complete application is the key to a speedy HPA process. After submitting your complete application, the department typically has 45 days to issue or deny an HPA. We can do this faster if we have all the information needed to assess whether your project will protect fish.
Before you apply
Talk with a biologist
We encourage people planning hydraulic projects to submit a general concept (pre-application) for review through the Aquatic Protection Permitting System (APPS). A habitat biologist can then help you develop a fish-friendly project design and answer questions. This is a great place to start if you are new to the HPA application process.
Projects that occur outside of the water may also require a permit. Submit a pre-application if you are unsure whether an HPA is required.
You may contact a habitat biologist at any stage of the planning process to ask questions and get feedback.
Get technical assistance
WDFW offers technical assistance for project design and fish protection. This includes examples of engineering drawings for common projects and guidance on applying the best available science.
You can get help determining whether your project requires other permits by contacting the Governor's Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance.
Prepare a complete application
Make sure your application is complete. Incomplete applications are the most common delay in the permitting process.
- Develop a thorough description of your project, including when and where you plan to do the project.
- Identify and produce required documents:
- General plans and specifications for the project
- Complete plans and specifications for work within the ordinary high water line
- Complete plans and specifications for proper fish protection
- Demonstrated compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)
- The following documents may also be required depending on project specifics:
- Authorization of agent form if an agent is acting on behalf of an applicant
- Consent of property owner form if the property owner where the project will occur is different from the applicant.
- Additional property owner(s) form if there are multiple property owners where the project will occur.
- Supplemental application forms for consideration of streamlined permitting under the Fish Habitat Enhancement Project (FHEP) and Habitat Recovery Pilot Program (HRPP) process.
How to apply for an HPA
The fastest way to get an HPA is to submit your application through APPS online. APPS will walk you through the steps to apply for an HPA. Your review process begins once we receive your complete application. You can even track your application throughout the review process.
To obtain an emergency HPA, contact your local habitat biologist or call the 24-hour Emergency Hotline. To issue such an HPA, an "emergency" means an immediate threat to life or property. Only the governor, WDFW, or a county legislative authority can declare an emergency. In such cases, WDFW can provide immediate verbal approval before work begins. (RCW 77.55.021(12)).
If the situation meets emergency criteria, we will issue verbal approval and a habitat biologist will follow up in writing within 30 days. You must receive verbal approval before beginning work in or near the water.
How to request an HPA modification
You may request a modification to your HPA if your project has changed or you need more time. Your HPA will explain how to request a modification. WDFW will grant a modification if fish and habitat will be protected from the impacts of the changed project.