Draft Fishway Guidelines For Washington State


Published: April 25, 2000

Pages: 57

Author(s): Ken Bates

As part of Washington State’s salmon recovery strategy, the Washington State Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Ecology, and Transportation, are currently developing guidelines for salmon habitat protection and restoration. The standards and guidelines are a series of manuals, workshops, and other tools addressing various activities of salmon habitat protection and restoration and are intended to [KB1]ensure compliance with requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act and state salmon restoration policies.

This document is one of a series of documents that will make up the guidelines. Additional subjects for which guidelines have been (as of April, 2000) or will be developed are:

  • Bank protection â€" Integrated Streambank Protection Guidelines is currently being developed.
  • Fish passage at road culverts â€" Fish Passage at Road Culverts is available.
  • Fishways guidelines are currently being developed.
  • Sand and gravel removal guidelines.
  • Estuary restoration guidelines.
  • Shoreline salmonids habitat restoration guidelines.
  • Freshwater habitat restoration guidelines.
  • Channel design guidelines.


NOTE: These "works in progress" have been developed to show the progress being made with the Aquatic Habitat Guidelines program. Drafts of guidelines currently under development, as well as information pertaining to their development, are presented here. The �"works in progress” documents posted on this site illustrate the thoughts of those individuals contributing to the program. The information provided is continually changing and being updated. The �"works in progress” documents do not necessarily reflect current guidelines or the policies of state agencies. By entering the links below, you agree to use these documents as discussion drafts only.

Fishway Design Guidelines

A fishway is any structure or modification to a natural or artificial structure for the purpose of fish passage. Components of a fishway may include: attraction features, a barrier dam, entrances, auxiliary water systems, collection and transportation channels, a fish ladder, an exit, and operating and maintenance standards. It can be a formal concrete structure, pools blasted in the rock of a waterfall or log controls in the bed of a channel. The water and fish, of course, are necessary parts of the system. The design of key features of fishways is the subject of this guideline.

This publication describes guidelines for the design of fish passage facilities for upstream migrating fish and are the result of both formal studies and practical experience. Though applying specifically to Pacific salmon and steelhead, the guidelines are also applicable to other anadromous and resident fish species. They also apply to a wide range of potential project sites encountered; from mainstem rivers such as the Columbia, to small culverts under country roads.

These guidelines do not discuss swimming ability of fish other than as it directly relates to fishway design nor do the guidelines discuss the analysis and determination of fish passage barriers. This document is a guideline only. It is intended to describe how to comply with specific design criteria or other fish protection requirements. Design criteria generally accepted by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are included as a guide. Design criteria and requirements for a specific site or facility should be verified directly with WDFW and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and/or United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Contacts are provided in Appendix X Fish Passage Contacts in Washington State. These guidelines cover common situations where fish screens are required; different or additional requirements may be stipulated for specific installations.

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