Fish Passage - Habitat restoration partnerships

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WSDOT is interested in partnerships with other public agencies, cities, counties, public and private enhancement groups, and anyone else who would like to help advance this work.

Whenever possible, WSDOT works with owners of adjacent barriers to coordinate barrier corrections. Partnerships such as this are key to the success of WSDOT's Fish Passage program.

WSDOT participates on the Fish Barrier Removal Board that is tasked with finding ways to prioritize barrier corrections and coordinate barrier correction efforts across the state and across ownerships to provide the greatest benefits to fish.

WSDOT is very interested in partnership opportunities on Habitat Restoration Projects.

Engage Early 

  • Contact WSDOT before submitting a draft grant application proposal, so you know what to expect. 
  • WSDOT may not have any matching funds to contribute, unless we plan well ahead, in time to request funds from the Legislature.

WSDOT Directives 

  • WSDOT priorities include preserving and maintaining existing highway infrastructure, and keeping state roads safe for multimodal transportation. 
  • WSDOT must also comply with state and federal laws, mitigation requirements, and court injunctions. 
  • The Federal Culvert Injunction requires WSDOT to correct fish passage barriers with the highest habitat gains within the injunction area first.

Project Requirements and Standards 

  • All materials and workmanship within WSDOT ROW must conform to the most current edition of WSDOT’s “Standard Specifications for Road, Bridge, and Municipal Construction”, which encompasses material quality, placement techniques, compaction requirements, public safety, etc. 
  • Contractors must have proof of insurance and performance bond. 
  • Traffic revisions/detours may be necessary during project construction. 
  • Reimbursable Agreement – WSDOT may need to recover costs for design review, construction management, overseeing any impacts to traffic and work taking place or affecting WSDOT roads and/or ROW, and construction inspections. 
  • Project Approval – WSDOT must approve the project design.

Damon Romero, Fish Passage Coordinator

Susan Kanzler, Stream Restoration Program Manager

Secret Creek Beaver Dam Analogs enhancement – 2017

In 2017, the Tulalip Tribes coordinated with WSDOT to install Beaver Dam Analog (BDA) structures approximately 100’ upstream and downstream of the SR 532 Secret Creek culvert.  Eight BDAs were installed, three upstream and five downstream, within WSDOT’s right-of-way.  Each structure consists of natural wooden posts driven into the streambed with hand tools and interwoven with organic debris such as willow and dogwood whips, vine maple branches, tree branches and other natural materials to mimic a beaver dam-like structure.  The intent of the project is to reduce stream energy and enhance habitat complexity by creating more pool area.  The Tulalip Tribes funded and managed the installation with no cost to WSDOT.  Adult coho salmon were documented up- and downstream of the BDAs in early December of 2017.  Juvenile coho will benefit from added complexity and diversity in the spring and for years to come.

The photos below are looking upstream at the Secret Creek culvert before the BDAs were installed (on the left) and after the BDAs were installed (on the right).

Secret Creek Culvert before BDAs installed      Secret Creek Culvert after BDAs installed
Photo credit - Tulalip Tribes