HPA rule making implementing ESHB 1261 regarding mineral prospecting and the federal Clean Water Act

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) conducted rule making to revise Hydraulic Code Rules in chapter 220-660 WAC to implement elements of Engrossed Substitute House Bill (ESHB) 1261. This bill amended, in part, the law Construction Projects in State Waters - chapter 77.55 Revised Code of Washington (RCW), which gives WDFW hydraulic permitting authority. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted the rule proposal on April 9, 2021. The revised rules go into effect on May 20, 2021.

Rule revisions:

  • Specify that a standard Hydraulic Project Approval permit (HPA) is required to conduct mineral prospecting involving motorized or gravity siphon equipment;
  • Remove all motorized mineral prospecting activities from the Gold and Fish pamphlet;
  • Require proof of compliance with the federal Clean Water Act as part of a complete application for an HPA for mineral prospecting with motorized or gravity siphon equipment;
  • Eliminate the annual reporting requirement for suction dredging HPAs; and
  • Require aquatic invasive species prevention measures for motorized or gravity siphon equipment.

Rule-making documents


Theresa Nation, WDFW Habitat Program

Rulemaking timeline 

  • June

    Announce rule making

    Public invited to comment about scoping rules on this topic.

  • Dec. 16

    Public comment period begins for rule proposal and SEPA

    Publish rule proposal in the Washington State Registrar. Release State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) determination. Comment periods begin for both the rule proposal and SEPA.

  • 2021

  • Jan. 29

    Public hearing

    Public hearing and Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission briefing; SEPA comment period closes.

  • Jan. 30

    Rule-making comment period ends

  • April 9

    Rule adoption

  • May 5

    Adopted rules published in Washington State Register

  • May 20

    Rules become effective

Rule making complete

Final 2020 Chinook salmon abundance (2SHB 1579) rule-making documents

Rules in response to 2SHB 1579 regarding Chinook salmon abundance were adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission on April 24, 2020 and went into effect on June 12, 2020.

The new rules:

  • Specify a preapplication process for projects landward of the Ordinary High Water Line to determine whether or not a HPA is required;
  • Establish civil compliance rules, including a penalty schedule; and
  • Specify that marine bank protection plans must show the location of the structure using benchmarks for a HPA permit application to be statutorily complete.

Learn more about the HPA application process.

Rule-making documents

Final 2019 HPA Suction Dredge rule-making documents

As of Nov. 1, 2019, suction dredgers are no longer able to conduct suction dredging activities under the Gold and Fish pamphlet. The new rules also require suction dredgers to begin recording their activities starting Jan. 1, 2020, and submit annual reports each year. The first annual report is due Feb. 1, 2021.

All suction dredge equipment used in any Washington waters must be decontaminated according to department specifications before being used in a different water. Information about decontamination methods is available on the WDFW Aquatic Invasive Species webpage.

Suction dredge equipment used outside of Washington must be inspected for aquatic invasive species by an authorized department employee or agent before being used in Washington waters. Anyone bringing suction dredge equipment from outside Washington is urged to call the department's aquatic invasive species (AIS) hotline (1-888-WDFW-AIS) to determine how to receive an inspection before entering the state. 

Rule-making documents