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Technical Assistance in the Restoration & Protection of Habitats

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) offers a variety of technical assistance and fish and wildlife information to counties and cities planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA) (Chapter 36.70A RCW) and Shoreline Management Act (SMA)(Chapter 90.58 RCW). Regional staff work directly with local planners to translate fish and wildlife science into local plans.

WDFW also develops technical assistance guidance for planners about species and habitats identified as priorities for conservation and management by the department. WDFW also coordinates with other state agencies to develop Aquatic Habitat Guidelines Work Group to address key land use issues in aquatic environments.

Land Use Planning for Salmon, Steelhead and Trout

Johnson Creek Restoration Project Land Use Planners Guide to Salmonid Protection and Recovery provides help to integrate local land use planning programs and state salmon recovery efforts to protect important salmon, steelhead and trout habitats. The planner's guide to salmon recovery is intended for local government planners and includes information on state salmon recovery efforts, sources of scientific guidance and model policies and development regulations.

Land use decisions implemented at the local level affect salmon recovery efforts and protection strategies. WDFW is an active participant in Watershed Management Planning (RCW 90.82), working with Ecology, local government, and other interested parties to reserve water for fish habitat while addressing future domestic, agricultural, and industrial needs for water supply.

The Growth Management Act (GMA) and Shoreline Management Act (SMA) are the two most significant state laws governing local land use planning decisions to protect critical salmon habitat. The GMA requires special consideration be given to conservation or protection measures necessary to preserve or enhance critical anadromous fish resources. The SMA requires no net loss to fish and wildlife conservation areas which includes anadromous fish habitat. WDFW protects habitat by providing salmon protection and recovery planning assistance to effectively implement the Growth Management Act and Shoreline Management Act. We have staff in every region working with local governments to implement salmon recovery goals in local regulatory programs.

For more information >>

Aquatic Habitat Guidelines (AHG)

Juvenile Coho Aquatic Habitat Guidelines (AHG) were developed by Departments of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Ecology, and Transportation (WSDOT) to provide technical assistance guidance for those who want to protect and restore salmonid habitat. The scope of the program includes the promotion, protection, and restoration of fully functioning marine, freshwater, and riparian habitat through comprehensive and effective management of activities affecting Washington's aquatic and riparian ecosystems. Participation in the project has also expanded with the addition of the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to the list of contributing agencies.

Some of the important guidance include:
  1. Design of Road Culverts for Fish Passage
  2. Stream Habitat Restoration Guidelines (SHRG)
  3. Integrated Streambank Protection Guidelines (ISPG)
  4. Protecting Nearshore Habitat and Functions in Puget Sound
  5. Land use Planning for Salmon, Steelhead, and Trout
  6. White Papers
    • Protection of Marine Riparian Functions in Puget Sound, Washington
    • Overwater Structures
    • Water Crossings
    • Dredging & Gravel Removal

Priority Habitats and Species (PHS)

Swauk Mouth A cornerstone of WDFW's technical assistance support for local land use planning is the Priority Habitats and Species Program. The program provides comprehensive information on important fish, wildlife, and habitat resources in Washington to improve land-use decision-making. The PHS program includes a list of priority species and habitats, supporting maps and data about species and habitats location, and scientific management recommendations designed to inform land management decisions. PHS freshwater riparian management recommendations are used by many local governments to protect salmonid habitat.

For more information>> Priority Habitats and Species Program

Landowner Incentives

Fish habitat The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) administers several pass-through grant programs that provide funding opportunities for projects within Washington state conducted by outside organizations or members of the public. Funding is available for projects that benefit the conservation and management of fish and wildlife and their habitat. The federal government is often the funding source for pass-through grants, which are given to an individual state for distribution to the applicant. In some cases, other sources provide grant funds, which are then administered by WDFW.

For more information visit our main website here >> Grants and incentives

Watershed Stewardship Team

Rattlesnake Creek The Watershed Stewardship Team (WST) was developed in response to salmon recovery legislation (ESHB 2496) to provide technical assistance to Lead Entities, Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups, tribes, and other organizations engaged in salmon recovery efforts. Each Watershed Steward is an expert in their perspective watershed and each provides a variety of assistance determined by the specific needs of their assigned watersheds. During the drafting of regional salmon recovery plans the WST provided technical input and coordination on behalf of WDFW and they are now integrated into the implementation and monitoring of the plans.

In addition to assistance for salmon recovery efforts, the Watershed Stewards are the designated representatives to provide local technical assistance for Ecology's 2514 watershed planning process, Shoreline Master Program updates and a variety of other programs at the local level where WDFW interests and concerns exist. WST biologists communicate WDFW policy and advice on the local strategy, plan development, and project identification and implementation and serve as a conduit for the science and technical assistance resources available at WDFW. When policy issues or questions arise, WST biologists consult with or involve their Regional Director, regional program managers, and other policy representatives as needed to provide clarity on agency positions and directions.

For contact information see >> WDFW Watershed Stewards Geographic Areas of Responsibility (PDF)
For more information on
salmon recovery and conservation, please contact
the WDFW Fish Program.

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