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Regulatory Authority

Hydraulic Project Approval Permit Program

All fish and shellfish have special habitat requirements related to water quality and quantity (including temperature) and to the physical features of the stream or body of water in which they live. For example, salmon and steelhead spawn and live for a time in a stream before going to the ocean. They require an ample supply of clean, cool, well-oxygenated water. Adults need clean gravel in which to spawn and juvenile fish require in-stream cover such as tree parts, boulders, or over-hanging banks to hide from predators.

The state Legislature gave the Department of Fish and Wildlife the responsibility of preserving, protecting, and perpetuating all fish and shellfish resources of the state. To assist in achieving that goal, the state Legislature in 1943 passed a state law now known as the "Hydraulic Code" (Chapter 77.55 RCW). Although the law has been amended occasionally since it was originally enacted, the basic authority has been retained.

The major types of activities in freshwater requiring an HPA include, but are not limited to: stream bank protection; construction or repair of bridges, piers, and docks; pile driving; channel change or realignment; conduit (pipeline) crossing; culvert installation; dredging; gravel removal; pond construction; placement of outfall structures; log, log jam, or debris removal; installation or maintenance of water diversions; and mineral prospecting.

Major saltwater activities requiring an HPA include, but are not limited to: construction of bulkheads, fills, boat launches, piers, dry docks, artificial reefs, dock floats, and marinas; placement of utility lines; pile driving; and dredging. It is important to emphasize that the above are only examples of major types of activities requiring an HPA and that any construction activity or other work that uses, diverts, obstructs, or changes the natural flow or bed of state waters requires an HPA.

For more information, please visit our main site here >> Hydraulic Project Approval

Water Right Application Review

fish swimming in river The Washington Department of Ecology issues perpetual rights to use water of the state, subject to availability and conditions to protect public interest and senior water users (RCW 90.03). When Ecology receives an application for water use, Ecology sends a copy of the application to WDFW for review and recommendations about conditions to protect fish and their habitat (RCW 77.57.020).

WDFW recommendations may include instream flows to be met before the water use permit (water right) can be exercised, screening to keep fish from being removed from a water body (RCW 77.57), and a notification that an HPA is required for any instream construction needed for withdrawing water. The statute includes the statement that "It is the policy of this state that a flow of water sufficient to support game fish and food fish populations be maintained at all times in the streams of this state." If, in WDFW water right application review staff's opinion, additional water withdrawal would be detrimental to fish, then WDFW may recommend that Ecology deny the water right application.

Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA)

river JARPA is an application form that consolidates fourteen permit application forms for federal, state, and local permits. JARPA is used to apply for an HPA and also for Water Quality Certifications or Modifications from the Department of Ecology, Aquatic Resource Use Authorizations from the Department of Natural Resources, Army Corps of Engineers permits, and Shoreline Management Act Permits from participating local city or county agencies.

For more information >> Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA) Website
For more information on
salmon recovery and conservation, please contact
the WDFW Fish Program.

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