Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) developed an official Environmental Policy Statement outlining its environmental priorities.
As a state agency, WSDOT is committed to preserving, protecting and enhancing the state's natural resources while providing transportation for the state.
The Department obtains permits from federal, state and local agencies when projects pass through sensitive areas, such as wetlands or stream corridors, or have the potential to impact threatened or endangered species. The biologists who work for WSDOT assist the agency in both of these important roles.
Biology Branch Programs
The primary programs in WSDOT's Biology Branch include:
The tasks WSDOT biologists are frequently involved in include project impact assessment, biological assessments for threatened and endangered plant or animal species, stream surveys, wetland assessments, mitigation, and monitoring, fish-passage assessment and enhancement, fish passage barrier removal, interagency training and environmental research. Other important issues that WSDOT biologists address include evaluation of wildlife mortality data, habitat connectivity and wildlife crossings, and managing wildlife on bridges to remain compliant with state and federal regulations.
Biology Services in WSDOT Regions
Agency biologists are located in six WSDOT regions, as well as at the WSDOT Headquarters in Olympia. Headquarters biologists serve as an "on-call" resource to the regions. WSDOT biologists are involved in all stages of project development, from early planning to long-term maintenance activities.
WSDOT has an ongoing research program targeting issues of particular relevance to the effects of transportation on the environment. Some recent research has addressed the following topics:
Working With Consultants
WSDOT regions and biologists often work with environmental consultants and engineers to design, construct, and assess the impacts of transportation projects. The resources available to WSDOT biologists and managers to facilitate contracting with consultants include standard contracting procedures for on-call contracts and scope of work templates.