Chronic environmental deficiency (CED) policies & procedures

Chronic Environmental Deficiencies (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, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) established a partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to move away from the repetitive repair of WSDOT roads. CED site restoration concentrates on long-term solutions that will optimize improvements for fish and fish habitat, while also addressing transportation needs.

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 with rough woody structures designed to improve salmon habitat. Learn more in the latest Chronic Environmental Deficiency Annual Report (pdf 8.4 mb).

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. A 1997 flood completely removed the southbound lane (see left photo below). Emergency repairs using rip-rap (see middle photo below) 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 (see right photo below).

Photo of 1997 flooding at the Hoh River Site 1, looking upstream.Photo of the temporary fix at Hoh River Site 1 using rip-rap.  Looking downstream.Photo of Hoh River Site 1 with engineered logjams.  Looking downstream.

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.