HPA application process

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 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.

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, include all components and 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).

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.

You may submit a hard copy of the JARPA form or simplified application, but it will take longer to process.

Emergency HPA

To obtain an emergency HPA, contact your local habitat biologist or call the 24-hour Emergency Hotline. For the purposes of issuing 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 prior to work. (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.

How to appeal

Please contact your local habitat biologist  with concerns about your individual HPA or HPA denial. If you are unable to resolve your concerns, you may file a formal or informal appeal.