WDFW initiates rule making process to implement Habitat Recovery Pilot Program

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Theresa Nation, 360-688-4745

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The Habitat Recovery Pilot Program will streamline the environmental permitting process for salmon recovery projects and other fish habitat restoration.

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has started a process to revise state hydraulic rules related to construction projects in state waters. This rule making process supports implementation of the Department’s new Habitat Recovery Pilot Program, which aims to streamline the environmental permitting process for salmon recovery projects and other fish habitat restoration.

The Washington State Legislature created the Habitat Recovery Pilot Program by passing Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill (E2SHB) 1382 earlier this year. The bill became effective on July 25, 2021 and is detailed in RCW 77.55.480. The pilot program will end June 30, 2025.

WDFW’s Habitat Recovery Pilot Program applies to projects that will directly benefit fish or their habitats. The program streamlines state and local permitting to advance qualifying projects as quickly and efficiently as possible. Local governments will maintain their ability to implement floodplain planning under the pilot program.

To implement the pilot program as quickly as possible, WDFW is conducting expedited rule making. The proposed rule update adopts the language of RCW 77.55.480 into the state Hydraulic Code Rules (Chapter 220-660 WAC).

Expedited rule making does not include a formal public comment period. Questions or concerns about the rule making process or rule proposal should be sent via email to HPARules@dfw.wa.gov.

Formal objection to expedited rule making must be received in writing by Nov. 22, 2021. People can send an email to rules.coordinator@dfw.wa.gov or mail a letter to Annie Szvetecz, WDFW Rules Coordinator, PO Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98501.

To track rule making progress and view documents for this effort, visit WDFW’s website.

WDFW works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife, and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.