Habitat restoration partnerships

Learn about partnership opportunities to advance the work of fish passage – habitat restoration.

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.

Kilisut Harbor restoration project – 2020

The Kilisut Harbor bridge on State Route 116 was constructed in 2020 with multiple partners, which allowed significant restoration benefits beyond what a WSDOT fish passage project would have accomplished alone. WSDOT and the North Olympic Salmon Coalition (NOSC) led the project partnership, with funding from WSDOT, US Fish & Wildlife Service, US Navy, NOAA Fisheries, US Federal Highway Administration, Estuary & Salmon Restoration Program and the Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Fund. Other project partners included: Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Elwha Klallam Tribe, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Hood Canal Coordinating Council, Jefferson County, Salmon Recovery Funding Board, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Puget Sound Partnership and Washington State Department of Ecology.

The Kilisut Harbor Restoration Project restored fish passage and tidal connection between southern Kilisut Harbor (Scow Bay) and Oak Bay by removing the earthen causeway that contained two 5-foot box culverts. The causeway was replaced with a 440-foot bridge. These actions restore natural processes and biological responses to 27 acres of marine intertidal habitat and tidal-fringe salt marsh that have been severely impacted by the construction of the earthen causeway. This project not only provides transportation between two islands but also provides habitat for foraging fish like juvenile salmonids within Kilisut Harbor. Fish have already been observed in some of the newly constructed tidal channels.

Aerial photo of the new Kilisut Harbor bridge, constructed in 2020, looking down at the bridge and out into the harbor.
The new Kilisut Harbor bridge, constructed in 2020.
Photo credit - Dean L Sanders Photography

14 fish passage projects were completed in 2020

improving access to 54.2 miles of upstream habitat.

11,959 incidents responded to

by WSDOT’s incident Response teams during second quarter of 2021, 15% more than same quarter in 2020.

41 Pre-existing Funds Projects Advertised

during the eighth quarter of the 2019-2021 biennium.