SEPA requirements for Hydraulic Project Approval

To receive Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA), most people must submit documentation proving their proposed project complies with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). Complete the SEPA review process before submitting your HPA application:

  1. Determine SEPA lead agency
  2. SEPA review
  3. SEPA determination
  4. Apply for HPA

Determine SEPA lead agency

Typically, SEPA review is done by local city or county planning and permitting offices. We recommend contacting them first.

WDFW serves as the SEPA lead agency for fish and wildlife management activities and proposed actions on WDFW-owned lands. We may also be the SEPA lead agency if an HPA is the only permit for your project.

Contact us for help determining if WDFW is the lead agency for your proposed project.

SEPA review

The lead agency will ask you to complete an environmental checklist that contains questions about your proposed project and its potential environmental impacts. Submit the completed checklist to the lead agency for SEPA review.

SEPA exemption - Some projects may be exempt from SEPA review:

  • Emergency HPAs, Fish Habitat Enhancement Projects (FHEP), and Habitat Recovery Pilot Program (HRPP) projects. 
  • Proposed projects described in WAC 197-11-800 and 197-11-835 which are unlikely to adversely affect the environment. Project types that may be exempt under these rules include minor construction, minor repair or replacement of structures, and when an HPA is the only permit required for the project.

SEPA determination

If the proposed project is unlikely to have a significant adverse environmental impact, the lead agency will issue a determination of non-significance (DNS) or a mitigated determination of non-significance (MDNS). (WAC 197-11-340 and -350)

If the proposed project is likely to have significant adverse environmental impacts that cannot be mitigated, the lead agency will issue a determination of significance (DS) and require you to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS). (WAC 197-11-360 and -400 through -460)

After a determination is made, the public is invited to comment, typically during a 14-day period. After considering public comments, the project proponent may revise the proposed project.

Apply for HPA

Include SEPA documentation with your HPA application through the Aquatic Protection Permitting System:

  • If your project required SEPA review: Submit the SEPA determination (DNS, MDNS, or EIS).
  • If the project is exempt from SEPA review: Cite the applicable categorical exemption, or submit the lead agency’s statement of exemption that includes the specific reason the proposed project is exempt.