Upcoming rule making for Hydraulic Code Rules

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will begin three rounds of rule making for the Hydraulic Code Rules (Chapter 220-660 WAC) in response to legislation passed in 2021.

E2SHB 1382 Streamlining the environmental permitting process for salmon recovery projects

This bill (E2SHB 1382) created the Habitat Recovery Pilot Program and is codified in RCW 77.55.480. The pilot program will expire on June 30, 2025. The program will create more opportunities for streamlined permitting of habitat restoration projects. Specifically, it applies to projects that will directly benefit freshwater, estuarine areas (freshwater and saltwater mixture), marine fish, or their habitat. The program streamlines state and local permitting to advance projects to construction as quickly and efficiently as possible. Local governments will maintain their ability to implement floodplain planning under the pilot program. WDFW will conduct expedited rule making to implement this bill, which is scheduled to begin in October 2021.

Learn more about the Habitat Recovery Pilot Program.

SSB 5273 Concerning the replacement of shoreline armoring

This bill (SSB 5273) added language to RCW 77.55.231 that requires a person applying for a Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) to replace a marine shoreline stabilization or armor structure using the least impacting, technically feasible bank protection alternative. This only applies to residential marine projects. WDFW will conduct standard rule making to implement this bill, which will likely begin in late 2021.

SSB 5381 Addressing fish passage project permit streamlining 

This bill (SSB 5381) added language to RCW 77.55.181 regarding the Fish Habitat Enhancement Project (FHEP) streamlined permitting process. It clarifies the intent of the legislature for local governments to continue administering the National Flood Insurance Program and other federal programs, and has language on multi-agency permit coordination. It also amends FHEP streamlining of HPA permits to include WSDOT fish passage barrier corrections as part of larger projects (not stand alone as current law). It adds federally recognized tribes to the list of project sponsors. WDFW anticipates expedited rule making to implement this bill, which will likely begin in spring 2022.


Theresa Nation, WDFW Habitat Program

Final 2021 Motorized aquatic mining (ESHB 1261) rule-making documents

Rules in response to ESHB 1261 regarding mineral prospecting and the federal Clean Water Act were adopted by the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission on April 9, 2021 and went into effect on May 20, 2021.

The new rules:

  • 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

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