Gabrielle Stilwater, email@example.com
OLYMPIA -- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is working to create new rules surrounding fish passage and screening improvement work. The public is invited to an online meeting on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 1 to 2 p.m. to learn more about the topic and provide input. No registration is required to attend.
The rulemaking effort is rooted in recommendations from Gov. Inslee’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force. In 2018, the task force published its report identifying lack of prey as a key threat to Southern Resident Orcas. Recommendation three of the report endorsed agencies to apply and enforce laws that protect salmon habitat.
The task force specifically noted that WDFW should develop rules to fully implement Chapter 77.57 Revised Code of Washington (RCW), better known as the fishways, flow, and screening statutes.
“Barriers that block fish from swimming upstream or fish movement instream, such as deteriorating culverts, outdated bridges, and diversion dams undermine the state’s salmon recovery efforts and impact other aquatic species,” said Margen Carlson, Habitat Program Director at WDFW. “We want to help landowners protect fish by creating rules that provide clear guidance.”
WDFW has drafted the first version of rules for comment. For more information, visit wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/habitat-recovery/fish-passage/rule-making.
People with limited internet access can call the Habitat Program at 360-902-2534 to learn how to participate by phone and request print materials.
Although fish passage and screening requirements for new construction has been codified through Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) rules, rulemaking for fish passage and screening will focus on compliance standards used for current and future fish passage and screening improvement projects, such as climate adapted water crossings. New rules are anticipated to go into effect in 2022.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.