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Chronic Environmental Deficiencies

Skagit River CED Site before and After
Red Cabin Creek CED Site Before and After

Chronic Environmental Deficiency sites (CEDs) are locations along the state highway system where recent, frequent, and chronic maintenance repairs to the state transportation system are causing impacts to fish and fish habitat. In 2002, WSDOT established a partnership (Memorandum of Agreement) with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) to move away from the repetitive repair of WSDOT roads and instead, concentrate on long-term solutions that will optimize the improvements for fish and fish habitat, while also addressing transportation needs. Potential CEDs can be nominated by WSDOT, WDFW, Tribes or other concerned parties. Nominations come to the CED coordinator who works with WSDOT region staff to identify possible CED projects. Nominations will be screened to determine if the sites meet the program's criteria. The initial site assessment consists of the CED coordinator, WSDOT's Senior Hydrologist, the Region Maintenance Environmental Coordinator, and persons familiar with the site verifying eligibility to the CED list and filing out an intake form with initial recommendations. Those projects meeting the criteria are all added to the list of CED sites.

CED projects have to meet two qualifiers:

  1. Maintenance has been conducted on the site 3 times in the previous 10 years
  2. The maintenance being conducted has a negative impact on aquatic fish habitat.

For each site, WSDOT conducts either a reach assessment that evaluates and identifies the hydrologic mechanisms for failure and develops a conceptual design solution. The reach assessment is at the core of the CED project development process and is conducted for each CED project site using methodology from the Integrated Streambank Protection Guidelines (ISPG; Washington State Aquatic Habitat Guidelines Program, 2002) and the Hydraulic and Engineering Circular Manuals 18, 20 and 23, as well as other sources.

The CED program has saved maintenance cost, reduced the loss of commerce due to road closures, removed or reused riprap and other material damaging aquatic habitat and replaced with rough woody structures designed to improve salmonid habitat.

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