Carmen Andonaegui, Habitat Program, 509-431-0339
Staci Lehman, Public Affairs, 509-710-4511
SPOKANE – Wildfires that tore through north central Washington in both 2020 and this past summer and fall destroyed hundreds of homes, ravaged thousands of acres of public and private lands, and- with winter weather approaching- left potential flooding and runoff risks behind. Washington Governor Jay Inslee directed state agencies to “do everything reasonably possible” to assist affected property owners in Okanogan, Chelan, and Douglas counties in mitigating additional damage.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is answering that call by expediting the permitting process for residents tackling projects aimed at protecting human lives, homes and properties from additional damage in areas left bare by fire. Permitting projects also help to safeguard water quality for humans and fish.
WDFW issues permits known as Hydraulic Project Approvals (HPAs) that are required to work in or near bodies of water such as lakes, streams, and rivers. In situations where work needs to be completed quickly to prevent additional threat or damage, WDFW has a process to issue Emergency or Expedited HPAs to allow property owners to move forward with repairs. In the case of Emergency HPAs, a WDFW habitat biologist may grant verbal approval for a project without requiring a written application or other paperwork.
In 2021 alone, the 25 Mile Creek Fire, Cedar Creek, Cub Creek 2, Walker, Spur, Muckamuck, and Chickadee fires impacted north central Washington and could cause post-fire flooding to private lands during the winter and spring seasons. The Nk’Mip fire that burned across the border in Canada could also have further impacts to the Molson and Chesaw areas. Fires from 2020- Cold Springs, Pearl Hill, and Palmer- could potentially continue to have residual flooding impacts.
WDFW habitat biologists in Okanogan, Chelan and Douglas counties will work expediently with landowners to determine if an Emergency HPA is appropriate for a site, provide technical assistance, and assist with the HPA application process. For more information, please contact the appropriate local habitat biologist listed below or see WDFW’s Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) web page.
Entiat/Lake Chelan subbasins
Outside of normal business hours, please call the Emergency Hotline, 360-902-2537, for immediate assistance.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 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).