Fish Passage - Habitat restoration partnerships

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.

Susan Kanzler, Fish Passage Coordinator

Mike Barber, Stream Restoration Program Manager

Rattlesnake Creek Fish Passage – 2015

Rattlesnake Creek
Photo credit - Sean Taylor, WDFW

In 2015, WSDOT worked with the Asotin Conservation District, WDFW, and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) to replace an undersized barrier culvert with a 25-foot stream simulation culvert. WSDOT contributed $1.11 M toward this project and the SRFB funded $300 K. This was the lowest barrier in the Rattlesnake Creek watershed and its replacement will have a large positive impact. Two additional fish passage barriers were recently corrected upstream of this site, using Family Forest and Fish Passage (FFFPP) funding.

Lyon Creek Fish Passage – 2015

Lyon Creek

In 2015, WSDOT worked with the City of Lake Forest Park to replace a barrier culvert under SR 522. Twin 5-foot box culverts were replaced with a 20-foot box culvert. This improvement was part of a larger flood mitigation project. The project spanned over half a mile from the mouth of Lyon Creek at Waterfront Park to a residential area near Whispering Willow Park. Included in the larger project were replacement of three city-owned Lyon Creek crossings with stream simulation culverts, park improvements, and habitat enhancements with the goal of reducing impacts from flooding.