Fish passage policies and procedures

The agency created the fish passage program in 1991 to inventory, prioritize, and correct fish passage barriers along Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) highways. This program has dedicated funding to target correction of high priority fish passage barriers through stand-alone fish passage projects.

Fish passage barriers are also corrected through larger transportation projects. Since 1991, more than half of the fish passage barrier corrections have been completed through such projects. While these usually are not the highest priority barrier corrections, it is an important avenue for efficiently correcting barriers while equipment is mobilized and construction activities are happening on the road in the vicinity of the barrier.

Fish passage barrier inventories and assessments

WSDOT contracts with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to inventory, assess, and determine the amount of fish habitat blocked by fish passage barriers on state highways.

Designing barrier corrections

WSDOT designs fish passage barrier correction projects following the Water Crossing Design Guidelines, primarily using the Stream Simulation or Bridge design methods. Other design options may be used depending upon location and site characteristics. Refer to the WSDOT Hydraulics Manual for additional design guidelines.