Chronic Environmental Deficiencies (CEDs)

Highways adjacent to rivers are often vulnerable to flooding, sedimentation, and washouts that can require expensive repairs and damage fish habitat. Learn how our CED program is constructing climate resilient, nature-based projects to protect the highway, improve fish habitat, and reduce needed repairs.

The CED program has saved maintenance cost, reduced the loss of commerce due to road closures, removed or reused rip-rap and other material damaging aquatic habitat and replaced it with rough woody structures designed to improve salmon habitat. Learn more in the latest Chronic Environmental Deficiency Annual Report (PDF 8.4MB).

Anyone can nominate a location as a CED: Tribal representatives, WSDOT, WDFW or members of the public. Send nominations to the CED coordinator, Jenni Dykstra,​, 360-705-7488.

CED criteria

To qualify as a CED project, a location must meet two criteria:

  • WSDOT maintenance crews repaired the site three times in the previous 10 years.
  • The maintenance negatively affects aquatic fish habitat.

Hoh River Site 1

Hoh River Site 1 is a good example of improvements made through the CED program. A meander in the river met US 101 at a right angle causing ongoing erosion requiring frequent maintenance. Emergency repairs using rip-rap resulted in the problem expanding; repairs became repetitive and were having a negative impact on fish habitat. In 2004, a CED solution installed engineered logjams to protect the road and create fish habitat.

Photo of 1997 flooding of at the Hoh River Site 1, looking upstream. Part of road has been washed out.

A 1997 flood completely removed the
southbound lane.


Photo of temporary fix at Hoh River Site 1 using rip-rap, looking downstream. Rip-rap is on the left with river on right side.

Emergency repairs using rip-rap.


Photo of Hoh River Site1 with engineered logjams, looking downstream. Logjams are on left side of photo, river is on right side.

Installed engineered logjams to protect
the road and create fish habitat.

Site assessment

The CED coordinator works with WSDOT region staff to screen nominations to determine if the sites meet the program's criteria. The initial assessment consists of technical personnel and persons familiar with the site who verify eligibility to the CED list and make initial recommendations. The CED coordinator adds sites meeting the criteria to the CED list.

Reach assessment guidance

For each site on the CED list, WSDOT conducts a reach assessment that evaluates and identifies the hydrologic mechanisms for failure and develops a conceptual design solution. The reach assessment is conducted for each CED site using methods from the Integrated Streambank Protection Guidelines, the Hydraulic Engineering Circular Manuals 18, 20 and 23, as well as other sources.

Traction tires are a special type of tire

manufactured with at least 1/8 of an inch tread. Traction tires are usually marked with a mountain/snowflake symbol, the letters M+S or “All Season.”

Carry chains, practice before leaving

Requiring chains keeps traffic moving during storms rather than closing a pass or roadway.

Prep your car. Fill up your gas tank,

pack jumper cables, ice scraper, warm clothing, snacks and water.