600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.
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June 05, 2017
Contact: Margen Carlson, 360-902-2229

Emergency permits available to protect property
from high water expected in eastern Washington

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reminds both public and private landowners that emergency permits are available for in-stream work to protect property from expected high water throughout the summer in eastern Washington.

Higher-than-normal snow pack last winter and cool, wet conditions this spring have extended the chance of flooding and the need for in-stream work to protect or repair houses, barns, fences, roads, bridges, culverts, and other property.

Under state law, all work that may disturb the bed or natural flow of streams and rivers must be reviewed by WDFW to receive a Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA), designed to assure that the work doesn't harm fish and fish habitat. The high-water levels expected are often within the zone requiring permits. 

The HPA review process can take up to 45 days, but in flood emergencies the permits can be issued as quickly as the same day if there is an immediate threat to people, property, or the environment. 

Those who need an HPA can contact a local WDFW habitat biologist or WDFW regional office during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays). Contact information is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/hpa/

Beyond business hours, the Emergency HPA Hotline at (360) 902-2537 is available. 

"We have been issuing emergency permits throughout this spring of high water and we will continue to work quickly with anyone who needs help this summer," said Margen Carlson, WDFW Habitat Program deputy assistant director. "We can help people protect themselves and their property while also making sure fish are in our future."