Procedures—Hydraulic project approvals.
(a) There are six categories of HPAs: Standard, emergency, imminent danger, chronic danger, expedited, and pamphlet. These categories are discussed in more detail throughout this section. Most HPAs issued by the department are standard HPAs. Guidance for applying for an HPA is provided on the department's web site.
(b) HPAs do not exempt a person from obtaining other necessary permits and following the rules and regulations of local, federal, and other Washington state agencies.
(2) Fish life concerns: Construction and other work activities in or near water bodies can kill or injure fish life directly and can damage or destroy habitat that supports fish life. Damaged or destroyed habitat can continue to cause lost fish life production for as long as the habitat remains altered. HPAs help ensure construction and other work is done in a manner that protects fish life.
(3) Standard HPA:
(a) The department issues a standard HPA when a hydraulic project does not qualify for an emergency, imminent danger, chronic danger, expedited or pamphlet HPA. An individual standard HPA is limited to a single project site. Some special types of standard HPAs may cover multiple project sites.
(b) Special types of standard HPAs:
(i) Fish habitat enhancement project (FHEP) HPA.
(A) Projects must satisfy the requirements in RCW 77.55.181
(1) to be processed as a fish habitat enhancement project.
(B) Projects that are compensatory mitigation for a development or other impacting project are not eligible. This includes proposals for mitigation banks or in-lieu fee mitigation proposals. The sole purpose of the project must be for fish habitat enhancement.
(C) The department may reject an FHEP proposed under RCW 77.55.181
if the local government raises concerns during the comment period that impacts from the project cannot be mitigated by conditioning the HPA. The department will reject an FHEP if the department determines that the size and the scale of the project raises public health or safety concerns. If the department rejects a project for streamlined processing, the department must provide written notice to the applicant and local government within forty-five days of receiving the application.
(D) An applicant whose fish habitat enhancement project is rejected may submit a new complete written application with project modifications or additional information required for streamlined processing. An applicant may request that the department consider the project under standard HPA processing procedures by submitting a new complete written application for standard processing.
(ii) Multisite HPA.
(A) A standard HPA may authorize work at multiple project sites if:
(I) All project sites are within the same water resource inventory area (WRIA) or tidal reference area;
(II) The primary hydraulic project is the same at each site so there is little variability in HPA provisions across all sites; and
(III) Work will be conducted at no more than five project sites to ensure department staff has sufficient time to conduct site reviews.
(B) The department may make an exception for projects the department has scoped prior to application submittal or when no prepermit issuance site visits are needed.
(iii) General HPA.
(A) The department may issue general HPAs to government agencies, organizations, or companies to perform the same work in multiple water bodies across a large geographic area.
(B) To qualify for a general HPA, projects must protect fish life:
(I) Technical provisions in the HPA must fully mitigate impacts to fish life;
(II) The projects must be relatively simple so that the HPA provisions are the same across all sites, and can therefore be permitted without site-specific provisions; and
(III) The projects must have little or no variability over time in site conditions or work performed.
(C) The general HPA will include a requirement that notice be given to the department when activities utilizing heavy equipment begin. The department may waive this requirement if the permittee and department meet annually to review scheduled activities for the upcoming year.
(D) The department and the applicant may negotiate the scope and scale of the project types covered. The department and the applicant must agree on the fish protection provisions required before the application is submitted.
(E) The department may reject applications for a general HPA if:
(I) The proposed project does not meet the eligibility requirements described in subsection (3)(b)(iii)(B) of this section; or
(II) The department and the applicant cannot agree on the fish protection provisions.
(F) The department must provide written notice of rejection of a general HPA application to the applicant. The applicant may submit a new complete written application with project modifications or additional information required for department consideration under standard HPA processing procedures.
(iv) "Model" HPA.
(A) The department will establish a "model" HPA application and permitting process for qualifying hydraulic projects. To qualify, an individual project must comply with the technical provisions established in the application. Hydraulic projects that qualify for the model process must:
(I) Fully mitigate impacts to fish life in the technical provisions of the HPA;
(II) Be a low complexity project that minimizes misinterpretation of the HPA provisions allowing the HPA to be permitted without site-specific provisions; and
(III) Meet all of the eligibility requirements described in the model application.
(B) If needed to confirm project eligibility, the department may conduct a site visit before approving or rejecting a model application.
(C) The department may reject applications for model HPAs if:
(I) The plans and specifications for the project are insufficient to show that fish life will be protected; or
(II) The applicant or authorized agent does not fill out the application completely or correctly.
(D) The department must provide written notice of rejection of an application to the applicant. The applicant may submit a new complete written application with project modifications or additional information required for department consideration under standard HPA processing procedures under this section, or may submit a new model application if the department rejected the application because the person did not fill out the original application correctly.
(4) Emergency HPA:
(a) Declaring an emergency.
(i) Authority to declare an emergency, or continue an existing declaration of emergency, is conveyed to the governor, the department, or to a county legislative authority by statute. An emergency declaration may be made when there is an immediate threat to life, the public, property, or of environmental degradation;
(ii) The county legislative authority must notify the department, in writing, if it declares an emergency;
(iii) Emergency declarations made by the department must be documented in writing;
(iv) When an emergency is declared, the department must immediately grant verbal approval upon request for work to protect life or property threatened by waters of the state because of the emergency, including repairing or replacing a stream crossing, removing obstructions, or protecting stream banks. The department may also grant written approval if the applicant agrees.
(b) If the department issues a verbal HPA, the department must follow up with a written HPA documenting the exact provisions of the verbal HPA within thirty days of issuing the verbal HPA.
(c) Compliance with the provisions of chapter 43.21C
RCW (State Environmental Policy Act) is not required for emergency HPAs.
(d) The department may require a person to submit an as-built drawing within thirty days after the hydraulic project authorized in the emergency HPA is completed.
(e) Within ninety days after a hydraulic project authorized in an emergency HPA is completed, any remaining impacts must be mitigated or a mitigation plan must be submitted to the department for approval.
(5) Imminent danger HPA:
(a) Authority to declare imminent danger is conveyed to the department or county legislative authority by statute. The county legislative authority must notify the department in writing if it determines that an imminent danger exists.
(b) Imminent danger declarations made by the department must be documented in writing.
(c) When imminent danger exists, the department must issue an expedited HPA upon request for work to remove obstructions, repair existing structures, restore banks, and to protect fish life or property.
(d) When imminent danger exists, and before starting work, a person must submit a complete written application to the department to obtain an imminent danger HPA. Compliance with the provisions of chapter 43.21C
RCW (State Environmental Policy Act) is not required for imminent danger HPAs.
(e) Imminent danger HPAs must be issued by the department within fifteen calendar days after receiving a complete written application. Work under an imminent danger HPA must be completed within sixty calendar days of the date the HPA is issued.
(f) Within ninety days after a hydraulic project authorized in an imminent danger HPA is completed, any remaining impacts must be mitigated or a mitigation plan must be submitted to the department for approval.
(6) Chronic danger HPA:
(a) The department must issue a chronic danger HPA upon request for work required to abate the chronic danger. This work may include removing obstructions, repairing existing structures, restoring banks, restoring road or highway access, protecting fish life, or protecting property.
(b) Authority to declare when a chronic danger exists is conveyed to a county legislative authority by statute. A chronic danger is a condition in which any property, except for property located on a marine shoreline, has experienced at least two consecutive years of flooding or erosion that has damaged or has threatened to damage a major structure, water supply system, septic system, or access to any road or highway.
(c) The county legislative authority must notify the department in writing when it determines a chronic danger exists.
(d) When chronic danger is declared, and before starting work, a person must submit a complete written application to the department to obtain a chronic danger HPA. Unless the project also satisfies the requirements for fish habitat enhancement projects identified in RCW 77.55.181
(1)(a)(ii), compliance with the provisions of chapter 43.21C
RCW (State Environmental Policy Act) is required. Projects that meet the requirements in RCW 77.55.181
(1)(a)(ii), will be processed under RCW 77.55.181
(3), and the provisions of chapter 43.21C
RCW will not be required.
(7) Expedited HPA:
(a) The department may issue an expedited HPA when normal processing would result in significant hardship for the applicant or unacceptable environmental damage would occur.
(b) Before starting work, a person must submit a complete written application to the department to obtain an HPA.
(c) Compliance with the provisions of chapter 43.21C
RCW (State Environmental Policy Act) is not required for expedited HPAs. The department must issue expedited HPAs within fifteen calendar days after receipt of a complete written application. Work under an expedited HPA must be completed within sixty calendar days of the date the HPA is issued.
(d) Within ninety days after a hydraulic project authorized in an expedited HPA is completed, any remaining impacts must be mitigated or a mitigation plan must be submitted to the department for approval.
(8) Pamphlet HPA:
(a) There are two pamphlet HPAs, Gold and Fish and Aquatic Plants and Fish, that cover the most common types of mineral prospecting and removing or controlling aquatic plants, respectively. A person must follow the provisions in the pamphlet. If a person cannot follow the provisions, or disagrees with any provision, the permittee must apply for a standard HPA before starting the hydraulic project.
(b) A person must review a pamphlet HPA before conducting the authorized hydraulic project.
(c) When a pamphlet HPA is used, the permittee must have the pamphlet HPA on the job site when conducting work and the pamphlet must be immediately available for inspection by the department upon request.
(d) All persons conducting the project must follow all provisions of the pamphlet HPA.
(e) The department may grant exceptions to a pamphlet HPA only if a person applies for a standard individual HPA for the project.
(f) Pamphlet HPAs do not exempt a person from obtaining other appropriate permits and following the rules and regulations of local, federal, and other Washington state agencies.
(9) How to get an HPA:
(a) How to get a pamphlet HPA: A person can print a pamphlet HPA from the department's web site. A person may also request a pamphlet HPA from the department either verbally or in writing.
(b) How to get an emergency HPA: Upon an emergency declaration, and before starting emergency work, a person must obtain a verbal or written HPA from the department. A complete written application is not required. However, a person must provide adequate information describing the proposed action. Compliance with the provisions of chapter 43.21C
RCW (State Environmental Policy Act), is not required for emergency HPAs. A person may request a verbal or written emergency HPA from the biologist who issues HPAs for the geographic area where the emergency is located during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. After business hours, a person must contact the emergency hotline at 360-902-2537 to request an emergency HPA.
(c) How to get a standard, expedited, or chronic danger HPA:
(i) A person must submit a complete written application to the department to obtain an HPA unless the project qualifies for one of the following:
(A) A pamphlet HPA, subsection (3) of this section; or
(B) An emergency HPA, subsection (5) of this section.
(ii) When applying for an HPA, a person must submit one of the following application forms to the department:
(A) The electronic online application developed by the department;
(B) The current version of the JARPA;
(C) The current version of the JARPA including the most recent version of the application for streamlined processing of fish habitat enhancement projects when applying for streamlined processing under RCW 77.55.181
. These may be submitted to the department as attachments to the online application form;
(D) The most recent version of the model HPA application or other department-approved alternative applications available from the department's public web site; or
(E) The current version of the JARPA if applying for approval of a watershed restoration project under RCW 77.55.171
. This may be submitted to the department as an attachment to the online application form.
(iii) A complete application package for an HPA must contain:
(A) A completed application form signed and dated by the applicant, landowner or landowner representative, and the authorized agent, if any. Completing and submitting the application form through the department's online permitting system is the same as providing signature and date, if all documents required during the online application process are submitted to the department;
(B) Plans for the overall project;
(C) Complete plans and specifications for all aspects of the proposed construction or work waterward of the mean higher high water line in salt water, or waterward of the ordinary high water line in fresh water;
(D) A description of the measures that will be implemented for the protection of fish life, including any reports assessing impacts from the hydraulic project to fish life and habitat that supports fish life, and plans to mitigate those impacts to ensure the project results in no net loss;
(E) For a standard or chronic danger HPA application, a copy of the written notice from the lead agency demonstrating compliance with any applicable requirements of the State Environmental Policy Act under chapter 43.21C
RCW, unless otherwise provided for in chapter 77.55
RCW; or the project qualifies for a specific categorical exemption under chapter 197-11
(F) Written approval by one of the entities specified in RCW 77.55.181
if the applicant is proposing a fish enhancement project;
(G) Payment of the application fee required under chapter 77.55
RCW. This fee must be submitted with the application or paid under a billing agreement established in advance with the department unless the project is one of the following project types that are exempt from the application fee:
(I) Project type approved under pamphlet permits;
(II) Mineral prospecting and mining;
(III) Projects on farm and agricultural land, as defined in RCW 84.34.020
(IV) Projects reviewed by a department biologist on contract with the applicant; or
(V) Modification of permits issued for projects applied for before July 10, 2012; and
(H) Applicants seeking approval under the farm and agricultural land fee exemption must provide a copy of the county assessor's classification of the property on which the project occurs as farm and agricultural land as that term is defined in RCW 84.34.020
(iv) HPA application submission:
(A) A person must submit the complete application package:
(I) Using the department's online permitting system;
(II) Sending the package via mail to:
Department of Fish and Wildlife
P.O. Box 43234
Olympia, Washington 98504-3234;
(III) Email: HPAapplications@dfw.wa.gov;
(V) Uploading to a file transfer protocol site acceptable to the department; or
(VI) Hand-delivering to the department at 1111 Washington Street S.E., Olympia, WA 98504, Habitat Program, Fifth Floor. The department will not accept applications submitted elsewhere or by other than the applicant or authorized agent.
(B) Dimensions of printed documents submitted with the application package may not be larger than eleven inches by seventeen inches. Pages of documents submitted may not be bound except by paper clips or other temporary fastening.
(C) A person must submit applications and supporting documents with a combined total of thirty or more pages as digital files rather than printed documents. All digital files must be in formats compatible with Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, or Microsoft Access programs or in PDF, TIFF, JPEG, or GIF formats.
(D) Applications submitted to the habitat program during normal business hours are deemed received on the date the habitat program receives the application. The department may declare applications received by the habitat program after normal business hours as received on the next business day.
(10) Incomplete applications:
(a) Within ten days of receipt of the application, the department must determine whether an application meets the requirements of this section. If the department determines the application does not meet the requirements, the department will provide written or emailed notification of an incomplete application to the applicant or authorized agent. This written or emailed notification must include a description of information needed to make the application complete. The department may return the incomplete application to the applicant or authorized agent or hold the application on file until it receives the missing information. The department will not begin to process the application until it receives all information needed to complete the application.
(b) The applicant or authorized agent must submit additional information in response to a written notification of incomplete application through the department's online permitting system or to the department's habitat program, Olympia headquarters office. The department will not accept additional information submitted elsewhere or by other than the applicant or authorized agent.
(c) The department may not process any application that has been incomplete for more than six months. The department must provide the applicant with written notification at the time the application expires. The applicant or authorized agent must submit a new complete application to receive further consideration of the project.
(11) Refund of application fee: The application fee is nonrefundable except when the application fee was paid but the proposed project is not a hydraulic project and therefore does not require an HPA, or the project is exempt from the fee. Upon determination that an application qualifies for a refund, the department must issue the refund within one week.
(12) Application review period:
(a) Once the department determines an application is complete, the department will provide to tribes and local, state, and federal permitting or authorizing agencies a seven-calendar-day review and comment period. The department will not issue the HPA permit before the end of the review period to allow all interested tribes and agencies to provide comments to the department. The department may consider all written comments received when issuing or provisioning the HPA. The review period is concurrent with the department's overall review period. Emergency, imminent danger, expedited, and modified HPAs are exempt from the review period requirement.
(b) Except for emergency, imminent danger, and expedited HPAs, the department will grant or deny approval within forty-five calendar days of the receipt of a complete written application. The department will grant approval of imminent danger and expedited HPAs within fifteen days of the receipt of a complete written application. The department will grant approval of emergency HPAs immediately upon request if an emergency declaration has been made.
(13) Suspending the review period:
(a) An applicant or authorized agent may request a delay in processing a standard HPA. The applicant or authorized agent must submit a written request for the delay through the department's online permitting system or to the habitat program's Olympia headquarters office. The department may not accept delay requests submitted elsewhere or by a person other than the applicant or authorized agent.
(b) If the department suspends the review period, the department must immediately notify the applicant in writing of the reasons for the delay. The department may suspend the review period (with or without the applicant's concurrence) if:
(i) The site is physically inaccessible for inspection or not in a condition to be evaluated (i.e., snow cover, frozen);
(ii) The applicant or authorized agent remains unavailable or unable to arrange for a field evaluation of the proposed project within ten working days of the department's receipt of the application;
(iii) The applicant or authorized agent submits a written request for a delay;
(iv) The department is issuing a permit for a stormwater discharge and is complying with the requirements of RCW 77.55.161
(v) The department is reviewing the application as part of a multiagency permit streamlining effort, and all participating permitting and authorizing agencies and the permit applicant agree to an extended timeline longer than forty-five calendar days.
(c) The department may not process any application if the application has been delayed for processing more than six months for any of the reasons identified in subsection (13)(a) or (b) of this section. The department must provide the applicant with written notification at the time the application expires. The applicant or authorized agent must submit a new complete application to receive further consideration of the project.
(14) Issuing or denying a hydraulic project approval:
(a) Protection of fish life is the only grounds upon which the department may deny or provision an HPA, as provided in RCW 77.55.021
. The department may not unreasonably withhold or condition approval of a permit. The HPA provisions must reasonably relate to the project and must ensure that the project provides proper protection for fish life. The department may not impose provisions that attempt to optimize conditions for fish life that are out of proportion to the impact of the proposed project.
(b) The department may not deny an emergency, imminent danger, chronic danger, or an expedited HPA, as provided in RCW 77.55.021
. In addition, the department may not deny an HPA for a project that complies with the conditions of RCW 77.55.141
. However, these projects must meet the mitigation provisions in WAC 220-660-080
and the provisions in WAC 220-660-100
that are included in an HPA. The department will deny any other type of HPA or request to change an existing HPA when the project will not protect fish life, unless enough mitigation can be assured by provisioning the HPA or modifying the proposal. If the department denies approval, the department must provide the applicant with a written statement of the specific reasons why and how the proposed project would adversely affect fish life, as provided in RCW 77.55.021
(c) The department may place specific time limitations on project activities in an HPA to protect fish life.
(d) The department may require a person to notify the department before construction starts, upon project completion, or at other times that the department deems necessary while the permit is in effect. The department may also require a person to provide periodic written reports to assess permit compliance.
(e) The HPA must contain provisions that allow for minor modifications to the work timing, plans, and specifications of the project without requiring the reissuance of the permit, as long as the modifications do not adversely affect fish life or the habitat that supports fish life. The permittee should contact the habitat program's Olympia headquarters office through email or the department's online permit application system to request a minor modification.
(f) A person may propose or conduct a hydraulic project under an environmental excellence program agreement authorized under chapter 43.21K
RCW. These projects must be applied for and permitted under the requirements of chapter 43.21K
(15) Hydraulic project approval expiration time periods:
(a) Except for emergency, imminent danger, expedited, and pamphlet HPAs, the department may grant standard HPAs that are valid for up to five years. The permittee must demonstrate substantial progress on construction of the portion of the project authorized in the HPA within two years of the date of issuance.
(b) Imminent danger and expedited HPAs are valid for up to sixty days, and emergency HPAs are valid for the expected duration of the emergency hydraulic project.
(c) Pamphlet HPAs remain in effect indefinitely until modified or rescinded by the department.
(d) The following types of agricultural hydraulic project HPAs remain in effect without the need for periodic renewal; however, a person must notify the department before starting work each year:
(i) Seasonal work that diverts water for irrigation or stock watering; and
(ii) Stream bank stabilization projects to protect farm and agricultural land if the applicant can show that the problem causing the erosion occurs annually or more frequently. Evidence of erosion may include history of permit application, approval, or photographs. Periodic floodwaters alone do not constitute a problem that requires an HPA.
(16) Requesting a time extension, renewal, or modification of a hydraulic project approval:
(a) The permittee may request a time extension, renewal, or modification of an active HPA. Before the HPA expires, the permittee or authorized agent must submit a written request through the department's online permitting system or to the habitat program's Olympia headquarters office. The department may not accept requests for delay, renewal, or modification submitted elsewhere or by a person other than the permittee or authorized agent. Written requests must include the name of the applicant, the name of the authorized agent if one is acting for the applicant, the control number of the HPA, the date issued, the permitting biologist, the requested changes to the HPA, the reason for the requested change, the date of the request, payment of the application fee if the request is for a major modification and the original application was subject to an application fee, and the requestor's signature.
(b) Requests for time extensions, renewals, or modifications of HPAs are deemed received on the date received by the department. The department may declare applications submitted to habitat program after normal business hours as received on the next business day.
(c) Within forty-five days of the requested change, the department must approve or deny the request for a time extension, renewal, or modification to an approved HPA.
(d) A permittee may request a modification or renewal of an emergency HPA until the emergency declaration expires or is rescinded. Requests for changes to emergency HPAs may be verbal, but must contain all of the information in (a) of this subsection except that modifications requiring an application fee do not require payment of the fee at the time of the request. The department will invoice the permittee upon committing the HPA to writing.
(e) The department must not modify or renew an HPA beyond the applicable five-year or sixty-day periods. A person must submit a new complete application for a project needing further authorization beyond these time periods.
(f) The department will issue a letter documenting an approved minor modification(s) and a written HPA documenting an approved major modification(s).
(17) Modifications of a hydraulic project approval initiated by the department:
(a) After consulting with the permittee, the department may modify an HPA because of changed conditions. The modification becomes effective immediately upon issuance of a new HPA.
(b) For hydraulic projects that divert water for agricultural irrigation or stock watering, or when the hydraulic project or other work is associated with stream bank stabilization to protect farm and agricultural land as defined in RCW 84.34.020
, the department must show that changed conditions warrant the modification in order to protect fish life.
(c) The department may not charge an application fee for modifications to HPAs initiated by the department.
(18) Requesting a transfer of a hydraulic project approval: An HPA is not transferable to another person. A person wishing to conduct a hydraulic project must submit a new complete application package.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.04.012
, and 77.12.047
. WSR 15-02-029 (Order 14-353), § 220-660-050, filed 12/30/14, effective 7/1/15.]