More than 20,000 volunteers are working with state agencies on habitat restoration and water pollution prevention, and taking other actions to support salmon survival. Thousands more work through county and city governments, conservation districts and civic groups.
The state resource and education agencies offer programs to help citizens develop knowledge and skills necessary to take personal responsibility for protecting salmon. The state is committed to helping build local knowledge in communities and among landowners, and to couple that with scientific information, education, skill-building and technical support.
Every one of the state’s resource and educational agencies has responded to the growing salmonid crisis by increasing educational efforts, placing additional emphasis on salmon in current education and volunteer programs, and developing new tools for education and public participation in salmon recovery.
To expand these efforts, the state proposes to:
· Expand the Governor’s Council on Environmental Education to include a Volunteers and Education committee to coordinate state agency volunteer activities.
· Create a program to train volunteers.
· Support a statewide information clearinghouse on salmon recovery and related volunteer activities.
· To inform, build support, involve and mobilize citizens to assist in restoration, conservation and enhancement of salmon habitat.
· Organize a statewide coalition of individuals, groups, associations and governments that will work together to educate the public about salmon recovery.
· Inform the public about the condition of steelhead and salmon, and how the public can be involved in their recovery.
· Inform the public about the ramifications of having Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed salmon, steelhead and trout in their watersheds.
· Promote and enhance volunteer resources needed to implement recovery efforts.
· The Governor’s Council on Environmental Education will be expanded to include a Volunteers and Education committee, reflecting the key element of successful environmental education: giving people the knowledge, skills and support to do something positive about salmon recovery.
· The Governor’s Salmon Team has played the key role in organizing a broad collaboration of agency and civic groups to work on education and outreach statewide. (The coalition is described in the next section of this chapter.)
· The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is the agency with primary responsibility for fish, and considers salmon education a major priority in its continuing programs.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife provides technical assistance and other resources to fisheries enhancement groups — volunteers whose major focus is salmonid restoration and propagation. These enhancement groups are eligible for funds from the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account to undertake projects ranging from removal of fish passage barriers to habitat restoration.
WDFW also maintains a “Salmon in the Classroom” program, which puts refrigerated aquaria and salmon eggs into classrooms to help students learn about salmon life cycles and help restore habitat. In some cases, this has led to salmon returning to streams after absences as long as 30 years.
The agency continues to offer angling education, with a heavy emphasis on water quality and other habitat aspects. This program focuses on training adults who then teach other adults and youth.
Under WDFW’s Education and Outreach theme of “Helping People Help Fish and Wildlife,” the following education activities are completed or underway:
· Selective fisheries brochure
· Salmon Volunteer Management: Tips on How to Make it Easier
· “Salmon Smart,” the WDFW volunteer manual.
· Aquatic WILD Teacher training: Offering more than 15 workshops to teachers per year with emphasis on wild salmon
· “Your Impact on Salmon,” a salmon self-assessment tool for multiple audiences to examine how they impact salmon and determine how they can change their behavior to help salmon.
· Salmon Education Trunks: With three themes: Salmon Are Essential, Salmon Are Endangered, and Salmon Recovery with WDFW, these are activity packets with materials provided for the educator/employee to use to teach children, youth and novice adults.
· Speaker’s Bureau on Salmon Recovery: including a WDFW slide show on salmon recovery for eastern and western Washington audiences.
· Salmon Rescue: a children’s coloring book on salmon in danger, and what individuals and communities can do for salmon.
· WDFW’s Salmon Recovery Display: a 7’x9' salmon recovery display which is interactive and appeals to multiple audiences.
New initiatives include:
· Master Watershed Stewards: a volunteer training and management program that WDFW has successfully piloted with WSU Cooperative Extension over the past three years and wants to now develop into a full extension and outreach program.
· Nature Mapping for Fish and Streams: Complements the WDFW “Nature Mapping for Wildlife” program which has citizens (youth and adults) collecting data and monitoring wildlife. The WDFW priority is to find out which salmon recovery monitoring data are needed that volunteers can collect, and incorporate this into the volunteer program and the Master Watershed Stewards training.
· Hatcheries as Salmon Environmental Learning Centers: WDFW will be working to provide educational programs to school groups and adults visiting hatcheries.
The Department of Ecology is the agency with primary responsibility for water. Ecology supports watershed education for adults in select counties, provides technical education for small businesses which deal with hazardous chemicals (photo shops, dry cleaners, auto service businesses, etc.), and underwrites community education through many Centennial Clean Water Fund grants to local groups.
For teachers and youth, Ecology offers training to teachers in using Project WET, a watershed education program for classrooms, and two other classroom-oriented curricula on wetlands, waste reduction and recycling. Ecology has helped launch water festivals in several communities, which include teaching about and celebrating salmon.
Ecology also maintains Watch Over Washington, an electronic Web site aimed at environmental volunteers who monitor water quality, wildlife, fish and wildlife habitat, and other environmental parameters.
Ecology offers a wide range of public educational programs at Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, teaching people of all ages about natural environmental processes, including salmon. Ecology is a key partner with local agencies in using posters and ads on all media about pollution prevention in Puget Sound.
Finally, Ecology leads an annual autumn interagency and civic collaboration called WaterWeeks, which supports and publicizes community education and events focused on water and watersheds.
The Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team (PSWQAT) coordinates efforts to clean up Puget Sound. Through the Public Information and Education (PIE) program, contracts are awarded to local governments, tribes, businesses, civic and neighborhood groups to educate about local problems and bring about local solutions.
Contractors have organized and trained volunteers and professionals to restore salmon habitat by:
· replanting riparian areas
· building fish ladders
· removing fish passage barriers in selected streams
· adding large woody debris to salmon streams
· stopping or preventing water pollution from on-site sewage systems
· reducing chemical use in homes and private and public gardens
· adopting streams
· using best methods during construction to reduce run-off and pollution from building sites
· monitoring chemical and biological water quality
· inventorying wetlands and streams and nearshore areas for restoration and protection
· planting eelgrass for fish habitat
· reducing water use in businesses and homes
· enabling citizens to bring sewage treatment systems into communities to replace failing septic systems
PSWQAT will continue a special effort to educate local government officials on the importance of nearshore areas to salmonids and ecosystem health.
The State Parks and Recreation Commission provides environmental education and training on park lands, often in cooperation with local environmental education and natural science groups. As a result, trained volunteers now monitor intertidal zones on beaches, manage nature centers and offer science and local history programs to the general public, undertake beach and park clean-ups, and teach restoration to others in their communities.
The Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has several efforts relevant to salmon recovery. The Environmental Affairs Office trains college students to monitor wetlands created as mitigation for road construction, and provide data to WSDOT. This new program is being expanded from a single university to others in the state. WSDOT is also a major supporter and participant in planning WaterWeeks with the Department of Ecology.
The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) educates and trains youth and adults about forest ecosystems, geology, agriculture, fire ecology, aquatic lands and many other topics.
DNR’s volunteer coordination program works with civic groups to have them adopt trails, revegetate lands and other actions. DNR provides training, staff support and tools. For example, DNR works on a continuing basis with students, schools and communities in the Hood Canal area to map, revegetate and restore riparian areas and streams where wild salmonids still exist, and to monitor those efforts for success.
Educational components of existing programs include teaching stewardship to small woodlot owners, supporting school programs which integrate environmental knowledge and skills, and coordinating and promoting Arbor Day tree-planting programs. In addition, DNR offers workshops and classroom materials to teachers of sixth through twelfth grade, called “Discover Washington’s Natural Resources.” The curriculum focuses on the integration of natural resource topics, including salmon, and offers suggestions for stewardship projects.
DNR provides grants through the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account to local governments and tribes, ports and state agencies for improving public access to water, habitat improvement and acquisition. The current grant cycle criteria will prioritize projects focused on critical components of salmon habitat.
The Washington Department of Health (DOH) is preparing new water conservation materials for distribution by water purveyors and users who lack access to other information sources. The materials will be given to water companies and others for distribution to the general public through mailings and at public meetings and events. DOH supports protection of water quality by educating water purveyors, county health departments, private and public owners of beaches and swimming waters, and other entities whose activities are related to human environmental health and which influence salmonid health.
Washington State University Cooperative Extension offers adult education about watersheds, soil and water, agriculture and home gardening, forest stewardship and salmonids, and other aspects of environmental and human health. Cooperative Extension has a team of water quality agents who specialize in water-related education.
In several counties, WSU Cooperative Extension provides comprehensive watershed courses tailored to the local ecosystem to teach about local environmental processes, economics and society. These classes, known generically as Master Watershed Stewards, require students to share their knowledge after completing the classes. Stewards subsequently undertake habitat restoration, water quality monitoring and nearshore monitoring, and provide education to others in conjunction with local, state and federal agencies, and civic groups.
WSU Cooperative Extension has also established an Email listserver as a source of good information on salmon including restoration, ESA, meetings and conferences, workshops, grants and other resources and events.
Washington Sea Grant (based at the University of Washington), and Cooperative Extension are jointly sponsoring classes in basic knowledge about salmon for professionals who are teaching adults and youth, and who need to incorporate salmon knowledge into their own teaching.
Washington State University’s Center for Environmental Education works with schools, communities and tribes on habitat restoration and water quality protection in the Snake River watershed and in other parts of the Columbia watershed.
Under the Government Council on Natural Resources (GCNR), an Education and Outreach Committee was created to develop comprehensive and cooperative public education and volunteer support programs. The committee is made up of representatives of state, federal and local government agencies and councils, tribes, public utilities, regional fisheries enhancement groups, non-profit groups, and others working on education, volunteer efforts, information and public involvement activities for salmon recovery.
The coalition’s overall mission is to inform, build support, involve and mobilize citizens to assist in restoration, conservation and enhancement of salmon habitat. The three main goals are:
· Inform the public about the condition of steelhead and salmon, how it affects their own lives and how they can be involved in salmon recovery.
· Inform the public about the impacts of the Endangered Species Act — listed salmon, steelhead and trout in their watersheds.
· Promote, expand and enhance volunteer resources needed to implement recovery efforts.
The coalition has established a Puget Sound area information clearinghouse on salmon recovery, with a toll-free phone number and a Website for the general public.
Effectiveness measures will be developed and monitored by the coalition, based on the following intended results:
· An informed public that understands:
o The condition of wild salmonids
o The consequences of having ESA-listed salmonids in their watersheds
· A mobilized public that:
o Works in support of salmon restoration
o Contributes resources toward salmon restoration
o Changes current practices and behaviors to support restoration and preservation
The GCNR Education and Outreach Committee has recommended a model for measuring program effectiveness. This model would:
· Establish criteria to evaluate the end result (changes in the factors that impact salmon recovery, such as habitat restoration).
· Identify the audience(s) and document and evaluate responses to the activities of programs provided.
· Assess the ability of the strategy and programs to acquire the necessary resources (staff time, volunteer time, money, materials, etc.) to offer the educational activities or tools to audiences.
A subgroup of the coalition is working on a plan to implement the model as the evaluation tool for the education and outreach strategy.
The State of Washington faces major challenges relating to salmon and trout resources that, if not effectively addressed, will have serious ecological, economic and social consequences. Accelerated declines in fish populations are occurring throughout the state. Habitat loss, environmental degradation, and significant illegal activities, including illegal harvest, are among the most significant factors that have contributed to precipitous declines in fish populations and have led to Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings. (See Background: Setting the Context chapter.)
Successful recovery and restoration of salmon will hinge upon implementation of, and compliance with, state environmental and resource regulations. However, enforcement efforts by the regulatory agencies is highly variable, leading to significant compliance problems in a number of critical environmental and resource programs. The various natural resource compliance programs (water resources, nonpoint water quality, forest practices, hydraulic permits, harvest and mineral resources) reflect a broad range of staffing levels and approaches, ranging from complaint-based responses to having dedicated staff located throughout the state providing variable levels of service (education, monitoring, enforcement, etc.).
Recent court decisions in Washington and the Pacific Northwest make it clear that voluntary programs and good intentions alone will not be enough to satisfy federal standards and species protection and recovery. The state must have a credible compliance and enforcement element in any salmon recovery strategy (statewide, regional or watershed).
Natural resource law enforcement at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) carries out its hydraulics permit issuance through biologists in the field, who also handle first response to problems. Enforcement programs are carried out by the Department’s commissioned officers working in communities around the state. These officers are responsible for enforcing all of Department of Fish and Wildlife’s programs including: Hydraulic Project Approvals, fishing and hunting regulations, habitat protection, and resolving potentially dangerous human and wildlife conflicts. The Department’s enforcement philosophy is to seek voluntary compliance through education, outreach, and technical assistance before using direct enforcement mechanisms.
Environmental law enforcement at Washington Department of Ecology: Ecology is generally organized by environmental programs such as air and water. Enforcement personnel are located in each program in four regional offices, and typically carry out several other responsibilities (write permits, conduct facility inspections). In recent years, emphasis has been placed on using education and technical assistance to gain compliance with environmental laws.
Natural resource law enforcement at Washington Department of Natural Resources: Department of Natural Resources (DNR) carries out its forest practices compliance program through field foresters in the seven DNR regions, as well as technical specialists in regions and in Olympia headquarters. Compliance philosophy emphasizes a graduated approach starting with education and assistance but including civil penalties for repeat offenders. DNR also carries out regulatory programs related to surface mining land reclamation and outdoor burning.
The Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Ecology, and Natural Resources set and enforce the majority of Washington’s statewide natural resource programs. These programs authorize the agencies to protect, regulate and control use of waters of the state, discharge of pollutants into state waters, forest practices, outdoor burning, surface mining, construction in state waters, fish passage, screening of water diversions and harvesting of fish. In some cases the responsibility is shared with local governments. The authorizing statutes and programs to implement the statutes are described below. Further description of these programs can be found in the chapters discussing the core elements.
· Implementation and enforcement of the Shoreline Management Act is a joint cooperative responsibility of counties and cities and Department of Ecology (Ecology).
· Counties and Ecology have a role in monitoring compliance with Shoreline Master Plans.
· Primary responsibility to regulate and control waters of the state rests with Ecology.
· Violations addressed through educational efforts, technical assistance, regulatory orders and field citations. Civil penalties and criminal sanctions sought through court action.
· Primary responsibility for implementation and enforcement rests with Ecology in managing point source and non-point discharges and protecting water quality standards, both surface and ground water.
· Violations addressed through education and technical assistance, notice of violation, regulatory orders and civil penalties. Resource damages may be recovered from the violator.
· Primary responsibility for implementation and enforcement rests with DNR.
· Enforcement occurs through voluntary compliance, remedial enforcement, and civil and criminal statute.
· WDFW is responsible for ensuring compliance with state statutes and rules of the Fish and Wildlife Commission and Director.
· Violations may trigger technical assistance, warnings and penalties.
· When acting within the scope of these authorities and when an offense occurs in the presence of a Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Officer, the Officer can enforce all criminal laws of the State of Washington.
State natural resource agencies play the lead role in efforts to achieve a high degree of compliance with environmental and natural resource regulations. This includes compliance with laws and regulations designed to protect water quality and instream flows, regulate alteration of riparian, forest and stream habitat, and prevent illegal take through harvest or other methods.
A fundamental principle of the Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon is that agencies will promote collaborative, incentive-based approaches, coupled with enforcement of existing authorities, to protect salmonid species and salmonid habitat. Programs will strive first to use voluntary compliance and support through comprehensive interaction and problem-solving at the community level. However, collaborative problem-solving takes time and is not always successful. Immediate enforcement actions will be taken in ESA areas to protect and prevent further harm to salmon. In the meantime, long-term strategies for compliance will be developed and implemented statewide. Default enforcement actions will also be defined and will be taken if collaboration is unsuccessful.
The enforcement strategy includes:
· Increase coordination and collaboration among the three principle state regulatory agencies — Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Ecology, and Natural Resources.
· Prioritize compliance and enforcement programs to improve the least effective enforcement programs and build credibility. Also, target enforcement to geographical areas with ESA listings and potential listings, where limited effort is being made to comply with existing laws, or where performance measures are not being met after a reasonable period of time.
· Encourage continued support and commitment to compliance from a wide variety of interests. Also increase public awareness and understanding of applicable laws and regulations.
· Enhance enforcement of natural resources laws and regulations where necessary to improve compliance and enforcement of existing environmental and resources laws.
· Enhance resources to build capacity within state agencies.
· Assist local governments to improve performance and increase compliance. Land use laws need to be better enforced at the local level.
· Enhance compliance with environmental and resource laws that support salmon protection and restoration.
· Maintain and strengthen existing laws and regulations to reduce illegal activities.
· Implement statewide enforcement that is predictable and consistent in application, but targeted first to priority areas and problems.
· Coordinate enforcement responsibilities among agencies.
· Generate public support and commitment to compliance.
Compliance and enforcement are approaches that use a mix of cooperative/voluntary tools and traditional regulatory techniques. Voluntary compliance efforts include the use of educational, technical assistance, economic and market-based incentives. When voluntary compliance efforts are unsuccessful, enforcement tools will be employed that include administrative processes such as inspections, warnings, orders, sanctions, injunctions, and civil penalties and criminal sanctions.
Efforts by state and local agencies to improve compliance will consist of a variety of actions:
· First, efforts are needed to enhance monitoring and tracking, coordination of compliance programs, technical assistance, public awareness and community involvement, and use of legal instruments as deterrents.
· Second, efforts will be prioritized and targeted across geographic regions, among a variety of resource protection programs, and throughout all stages of a regulatory system.
· Third, while most of the natural resources agencies have generally adequate authorities to enforce their laws and regulations, enhancement of the authorities and tools is needed for some programs.
· Finally, because there is a very limited enforcement capability to handle the growing number of apparent violations, additional resources are needed to increase effectiveness in achieving salmon protection and recovery.
Currently, Ecology and WDFW carry out their compliance monitoring and enforcement responsibilities independently but with some interaction between the agencies. DNR and WDFW coordinate permit issuance and, to some degree, compliance activities. WDFW occasionally files complaints with Ecology regarding possible water right violations, or regarding the need to protect instream flows by enforcing water right conditions imposed on junior water right holders.
Increased coordination and collaboration among the three regulatory agencies will be carried out by developing and implementing consistent enforcement terminology, agreements to coordinate technical assistance and compliance monitoring, and work sharing.
Consistent enforcement terminology: Natural resource violations often involve multiple jurisdictional issues regulated by the Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Ecology, and Natural Resources. Each agency has its own enforcement language and uses various enforcement tools differently. Often, terminology and applications unique to agencies is confusing to the public and does not always result in appropriate responses.
Enforcement tools could include standardized names, form use, and application within intended guidelines. The three main natural resource agencies will develop standard enforcement terminology and protocols to improve public understanding, enhance the ability of agency field representatives to respond, interpret and react consistently statewide.
Improved coordination of technical assistance and compliance monitoring: Interaction between the agencies does occur but cross-agency coordination needs to be significantly enhanced for the following reasons:
· Solutions to the natural resource problems related to the decline of salmon are inherently cross-agency in nature.
· All agencies have limited resources and must prioritize activities.
· Coordinated actions will solve problems more efficiently.
To improve coordination among each other the agencies will implement the following:
· Coordinate salmon-related activities. The activities to be coordinated include compliance monitoring, data exchange and technical assistance to achieve compliance and enforcement.
· Implement geographic scale of coordination. Activities could be coordinated at a county, Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA), multi-WRIA, or Evolutionary Significant Units (ESU) level. Coordination at the watershed level (e.g., WDFW watershed districts and Ecology watershed management areas) is recommended.
· Process proposed for coordination. Strong initial and on-going endorsement by agency directors/commissioners is needed to address:
o Key problems and limiting factors that could improve compliance with natural resource laws;
o Options for solving compliance problems, including options on how to avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate the problems generated from non-compliance;
o Development of a strategy considering education, technical assistance, civil enforcement, criminal enforcement; and
o Role of each agency in implementing enforcement strategies.
o Enforcement strategies will be agreed upon by the agencies and will be built into each agency’s work plans.
o Agreements may be drawn among the agencies to share education, technical assistance, compliance monitoring and enforcement responsibilities.
o Agencies will produce performance reports.
If the process proves to be successful the coordination may be expanded to include tribal and local governments that have enforcement responsibilities related to natural resources.
Work sharing among natural resources agencies is necessary for three reasons:
· Enforcement of natural resource laws should be as efficient as possible to maximize use of state resources.
· The unique aspects of each agency’s enforcement program should be considered to develop the most effective overall program.
· Because new resources are being considered for enforcement programs, now is the time to consider where to place the resources and what enforcement powers to confer.
The initiative to implement work sharing among the three natural resource management agencies includes:
· Expand the role of WDFW Enforcement Officers in environmental enforcement:
o The WDFW enforcement program could be easily adapted to other natural resources law enforcement needs.
o WDFW has an existing law enforcement infrastructure, which would maximize the efficient use of state resources. Their involvement can significantly improve compliance with existing laws and restoration of federally listed and proposed to be listed fish species.
Given the limited current effort on compliance and enforcement within the water resources and water quality programs in Ecology, options for long-term work sharing will be first explored between Ecology and WDFW. Future interagency agreements, possibly including DNR, will be considered as progress is monitored.
· Options for work sharing
All options considered call for Fish and Wildlife Officers to play an enhanced role in Department of Ecology habitat protection responsibilities. Four different “levels of involvement” for Fish and Wildlife Officers are related to Ecology’s key habitat related statutes. They are:
Level 1: education
Act as educational liaisons, informing local constituencies of the need for and benefits of compliance with habitat related regulations.
Level 2: compliance monitoring
Conduct systematic and routine field monitoring and tracking to determine compliance with regulations and permits. Report instances of non-compliance to Ecology for necessary follow-up.
Level 3: compliance monitoring with case report
Conduct Level 2 compliance monitoring plus, based on guidance from Ecology, prepare a detailed case report to document a formal enforcement action. Possible role as expert witness if action is appealed.
Level 4: coordinated enforcement
Conduct compliance monitoring plus participate in a jointly developed strategy to resolve significant non-compliance. This could include Fish and Wildlife officers directly enforcing habitat-related laws and regulations, if statutory authority were expanded by the Legislature.
Given the limited resources available, it is critical to prioritize compliance and enforcement programs to improve the least effective enforcement programs (e.g., water resources) and build credibility. Also, enforcement must be targeted to geographical areas with ESA listings and potential listings, where limited effort is being made to comply with existing laws, or where performance measures are not being met after a reasonable period of time.
Some areas of the state have a significant amount of water being used (1) without authorization from Ecology; (2) in excess of the quantities allowed under a water right; (3) in excess of the acreage allowed to be irrigated; and/or (4) outside the authorized place of use. Ecology has found these forms of illegal activity to some degree in most areas of the state that it has investigated.
Much water use in the state occurs under water right claims rather than under state issued rights. One problem is that many claims are erroneous, clearly invalid, or claim a right for future use. Ecology believes that it can under the law make a tentative determination as to the validity and quantification of a claim for purposes of determining whether the use is illegal or excessive. However, the state Supreme Court has disallowed Ecology from making such a determination for purposes of regulating among conflicting uses.
Another major problem for regaining control over illegal and excessive use is the lack of compliance resources within Ecology’s Water Resources Program. Major budget cuts in 1994 caused the near elimination of the water rights compliance program. New resources and statutory authority are necessary to allow for coordinated enforcement employing WDFW enforcement officers.
Strategic enforcement against illegal uses will be taken in prioritized and targeted areas starting first in the “highest priority basins” for protection and restoration of instream flows.
For each basin with ESA listings or likely listings and with known illegal activities, an action plan will be developed and fully implemented according to the priorities outlined in the chapter on Ensuring Adequate Water in Streams for Fish. These plans will address all or some of the following items:
· Requiring installation of meters to measure and report water use.
· Restricting quantity and timing of water use, and requirement of all water supply utilities (e.g., irrigation districts and municipal suppliers) to develop a water conservation plan and identify the potential for saved water.
· Identifying alternative water sources such as use of reclaimed water.
· Enforcing standards for beneficial use and waste.
· Enforcement actions to be taken by the state to stop any further water withdrawal.
· Assigning “water masters” or “stream patrollers” to deter future violations.
· Increasing geographically dispersed enforcement presence (e.g., contracting with uniformed Fish and Wildlife Officers).
· Linking funding and financial assistance to compliance.
· Coordinating enforcement activities and consolidating field compliance monitoring to ensure consistency by state, federal, tribal and local governments.
· Educating and involving the public in watershed planning and restoration.
· Providing additional enforcement resources for local enforcement.
The ultimate success of salmon recovery will rest on the hidden dimension — the human element. Drafting the Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon will not automatically lead to successful actions. Success will depend more upon the human interactions and behaviors among the diverse groups that have a stake in salmon recovery. To that end, agencies need to design programs to inform and involve the public in salmon recovery.
Many citizens have questions about compliance with natural resources laws in their neighborhoods; sometimes citizens also have information useful to agencies. Often there are not efficient ways for agency compliance staff and citizens to communicate. Citizen complaints or questions based on poor information about the requirements of environmental laws can lead to wasted time. On the other hand, well-informed citizens can provide valuable information both to agency staff and to other citizens.
Most natural resource regulatory programs experience regular involvement by representatives of key citizen interest groups, who over time become well-informed both about the regulatory requirements of the program and about local on-the-ground practices. Agencies should find ways to make better use of that citizen expertise in the overall compliance effort.
Agencies need to generate support and commitment to compliance from a wide variety of interests. They also need to increase public involvement in environmental and resource management and protection activities. It is critical for the agencies to empower the public to take action to improve salmon conditions. The following initiatives are proposed:
· Build collaboration between the agencies and communities to solve natural resource problems by placing emphasis on community outreach and involvement and on voluntary compliance.
· Facilitate grassroots efforts through volunteer monitoring and tracking. This is a way for the public to help agencies track trends on the health of a watershed and it is a proven path to natural resource stewardship by groups of citizens.
· Develop local stakeholder groups within watersheds and salmon recovery units.
Agencies will need to develop strategies to reach broad-based and diverse constituency groups that actively participate in decisions and implementation. Based upon legal, fiscal and geographic demands of salmon recovery, state and local officials will act as the specialists that facilitate formation of stakeholder groups.
Group participants will need to represent a cross section of interest groups including: state, federal, city and county officials, agricultural and industrial organizations, sport and commercial salmon groups, environmental groups, key influential and other identified stakeholders. Because of the complexity and diversity of recovery issues, formation of unique stakeholder groups within each recovery unit would be beneficial.
Generally, agencies have the authority to enforce natural resource laws to protect salmon. However, certain laws may need to be enhanced to improve and streamline compliance and enforcement efforts. The following are changes to existing statutes that are needed:
· Authority to enforce among competing water rights.
· Penalty for violations of the Water Code. Currently Ecology is authorized to levy civil penalties up to $100 per day for violations of the Water Code. Penalties are too low to deter some violators. Changes are needed to establish a graduated structure with three categories of violations — minor, serious and major — depending on the severity of the violation.
· Add requirements for performance bonds for shoreline permits and possibly other permits as well. Performance bonds will be used as incentive for permit holders to comply with conditions of permits and ensure that environmental protection is implemented on the ground.
· Expand the appointment of stream patrollers and water masters. Stream patrollers and water masters are appointed by Ecology to divide, regulate and control the use of water and prevent illegal uses of excess use of water. Legislative changes are needed to remove barriers to the appointment of stream patrollers.
The level of resources devoted to compliance and enforcement efforts among several major regulatory programs related to salmon is highly variable. Some programs carry out a moderate level of compliance and enforcement activities, while other programs with regulatory powers currently do little enforcement.
The 1999-2001 state budget recognizes the importance of enhancing enforcement of existing natural resources laws to protecting and recovering salmon and provides a modest increase in staff and resources to WDFW, Ecology and DNR.
Performance measures for compliance and enforcement programs are needed as part of the Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon and to use in producing the State of the Salmon Report. A combination of measures both quantitative and qualitative, statistical and narrative must be used.
Effectiveness of compliance and enforcement activities will be measured as follows:
· The levels of compliance or rates of noncompliance in areas that are inspected, or targeted for special initiatives, or designated as high priority area or sector;
· Improvement by the regulated entities, such as amount of water conserved, amount of pollutant reduced, numbers of fish present;
· Responses to significant violations such as average number of days for significant violators to comply, or enter into enforceable plans and agreements, and number of recurring violations;
· General information on number of inspections, responses to complaints, investigations conducted, number of notices of violations issued, civil and criminal enforcement actions initiated and concluded and number of individuals or entities reached through compliance tools; and
· Effective coordination and building capacity such as number of agreements or delegation orders signed, and number of cross-agency training programs.
Land development, transportation and many other types of projects that involve work in or near streams, estuaries, or nearshore marine waters have inherent risks to salmon habitat. Projects for the sole purpose of protecting or restoring salmon habitat can also create incidental risks of harm to salmon. Because of these risks, projects that involve work in or near aquatic resources are highly regulated through a large number of federal, state and local permit programs. It is essential to salmon recovery that these permit programs be well-coordinated and provide a consistent level of protection to prevent or mitigate the potential impacts on salmon habitat. Effective and efficient permit programs also benefit project sponsors, including sponsors of habitat protection and restoration projects.
Many agencies have programs that either sponsor or regulate habitat protection and restoration projects. Until the Salmon Recovery Planning Act (1998) and the Salmon Recovery Funding Act (1999), there was no overall program framework for undertaking salmon habitat protection and restoration projects. The design review and regulation of these projects has not been consistent and, all too often, permit procedures have been time-consuming and expensive.
This chapter addresses two strategies related to permitting and are part of protecting and restoring salmon habitat: 1) streamlining permit procedures for habitat protection and restoration projects, and other projects affecting aquatic resources; and 2) developing and applying design guidelines for habitat protection and restoration projects, and other projects affecting stream corridors.
These strategies have a direct bearing on the implementation of habitat protection and restoration projects. The results of these efforts will be more efficient processes for approving habitat protection and restoration projects and greater assurance that on-the-ground or in-the-stream projects will achieve results beneficial for habitat.
Examples of major state programs involved in reviewing and permitting projects that may impact aquatic resources include:
· State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) — SEPA checklist, project reviews, assessments and impact statements, use of substantive authority.
· Hydraulic Project Approvals (HPA) — for projects that propose to use, obstruct, divert or change stream beds or flows.
· 401 Water Quality and Coastal Zone Management Consistency Certifications — address project compliance with state water quality standards and state coastal zone management policies for federal projects or projects requiring federal permits.
· Forest Practices Permits — for timber harvest and other practices involved in forestry operations.
· National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits — for projects that discharge wastewater or stormwater to surface waters.
· Pesticide Application and Management — for applying or supervising the use of pesticides for commercial agriculture.
· Surface and Ground Water Withdrawals — for review and approval of water rights to use surface or ground water.
A new statewide framework for habitat protection and restoration projects has been established through the Salmon Recovery Planning Act of 1998 (ESHB 2496) and the Salmon Recovery Funding Act of 1999 (2E2SSB 5595). These new laws have established a framework and process for habitat protection and restoration projects.
This framework includes: using state and local technical expertise to identify and assess limiting habitat factors and potential projects within a region (i.e., one or more Water Resource Inventory Areas); designating local leadership as lead entities to establish local priorities; and allocating resources and approving projects for funding based upon statewide objectives. These objectives will be established through the Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon and by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
Other legislation passed in 1998 laid a foundation for improved permit processes for habitat protection and restoration projects. An Act Facilitating the Review and Approval of Fish Enhancement Projects (2SHB 2879) authorized approaches to streamline state and local permit requirements for habitat protection and restoration projects.
The strategies to address permit streamlining and design guidelines for habitat protection and restoration projects have a common theme of building upon existing efforts that have been underway for some time. The solutions being undertaken are intended to increase the level of support for these efforts and make them more effective. As these separate but interrelated efforts proceed, it is also important for them to be well coordinated. That need is acknowledged and is an integral part of the strategy.
· Ensure projects affecting waters of the state, including habitat protection and restoration projects, are designed to be fish-friendly and are reviewed consistently.
· Ensure permit decisions for projects affecting waters of the state, including habitat protection and restoration projects, are made efficiently.
· Make permit requirements and procedures for projects affecting waters of the state, including habitat protection and restoration projects, more effective and efficient. Continue to improve permit processes to ensure that beneficial habitat enhancement and restoration projects, and projects that incorporate effective habitat protection measures and flood hazard reduction features can proceed efficiently.
· Provide consistent and specific guidelines for the design and review of projects affecting waters of the state, including salmon habitat protection and restoration projects.
Overview of 2SHB 2879
2SHB 2879 provides for streamlined permitting for certain types of fish habitat enhancement and restoration projects. Projects that meet the criteria established in the law, and which do not have adverse environmental impacts that cannot be mitigated by a Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA), are exempt from local permits and fees and do not require review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
Fish habitat enhancement projects eligible for streamlined review are limited to those that:
· Eliminate human-made fish passage barriers;
· Restore eroded or unstable stream banks, using bioengineering; or
· Provide instream structures that benefit naturally reproducing fish stocks.
The legislation streamlines permitting for many habitat enhancement and restoration projects. There are projects, however, that do not meet the criteria and so cannot take advantage of the streamlined process. In addition, projects may meet the criteria, but may require federal permits or local permits (e.g., road construction) and may have significant adverse environmental impacts requiring review under SEPA. This type of project would not qualify for the streamlined process.
There are, or course, many projects that are not “enhancement” or “restoration” projects that create impacts to fish and habitat. It may be possible in some cases to provide incentives, including streamlined permitting, to encourage project proponents to make choices that cause less impact.
Criteria and procedures for emergency permit exemptions and funding can lead to projects that adversely impact fish and habitat. The ability to get emergency permit exemptions and emergency funding can drive project decisions, including construction alternatives and timing, that harm fish and habitat. To be eligible for emergency funding from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency or Natural Resource Conservation Service, for example, projects typically must be completed within 40 - 180 days of the emergency event. Also, projects must include only the amount of work necessary to correct the damages caused by the event.
Past and current activities contributing to permit streamlining
Ecology, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) worked with cities, counties and federal agencies to develop a single joint permit application form to combine what was originally seven to nine different application forms and more than ten different permit actions.
The use of Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application (JARPA) is expected to become more widespread. Its use in eastern Washington, rural western Washington and southern Puget Sound is almost universal, but some communities with major populations aren’t using JARPA. The application use to date strongly suggests a consolidated permit process could be developed for well-designed, watershed-based stream rehabilitation and fish habitat recovery proposals as a first step toward more widespread permit streamlining. Such consolidation could be made under multiple current authorities, with appropriate legislation. However, use of rigorous watershed-based stream corridor management criteria and guidelines is essential to the success of permit consolidation.
An Interagency Permit Streamlining Workgroup (IPSW), which includes staff from the Department of Ecology (Ecology), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT), local governments, and federal regulatory and resource agencies, has been meeting informally for more than two years. The IPSW has identified problems and solutions that would streamline all required permits for projects that affect waters of the state, including salmon habitat protection and restoration projects. It has long been recognized that there needs to be more consistent guidelines for designing, reviewing and approving projects in stream corridors.
The context for salmon habitat restoration work is provided by completion of a comprehensive characterization of the watershed. Such a characterization identifies resource issues within the watershed as they relate to salmon habitat recovery. This characterization is an essential step because it will help watershed communities direct limited financial and human resources to the projects that best address the habitat needs of at-risk salmon stocks within the overall basin or sub-basins. An early emphasis on watershed characterization can save time and expense.
Areas that, if restored, would best address known habitat deficiencies for salmon (such as limited winter rearing habitat, providing base flow support to streams, or alleviating flood impacts) can be identified and targeted for project sponsorship and funding.
Following an understanding of the watershed through characterization and limiting factors analysis, the next level of guidance needed is specific to the type(s) of habitat protection and restoration work being implemented. These protection and restoration actions cover a range of habitat elements and processes, including such areas as headwater spawning beds, stream corridors, wetlands and shorelines. All of these features require specialized guidelines to provide ecologically sound and consistent direction for the design of habitat protection and restoration activities.
Salmon habitat restoration or rehabilitation projects will be done by programs and projects that may focus on various scales: specific habitat needs, stream corridor function, and/or ecological health of watersheds or river segments. There is a pressing need to assure these efforts are based on a good understanding of the physical and biological dynamics of stream corridors to:
· successfully recover salmon stocks;
· avoid inadvertent damage to existing riparian and fish habitat;
· avoid causing undesirable new flooding impacts elsewhere on the stream.
Regardless of the scale of restoration, it is more likely to be successful if done through a process of four restoration elements: 1) watershed characterization and assessment; 2) protection of existing habitat; 3) science-based remedial action; and 4) monitoring, evaluation and feedback.
The approach being recommended addresses the need for integrated guidelines for carrying out salmon habitat restoration and fully mitigating habitat damage by in-stream and stream corridor modifications, construction and developments. Such guidelines would address the technical details that people can apply in the field to restore or rehabilitate habitat or stream corridor function, or minimize future damage.
Restoration elements, such as watershed characterization and assessment, remedial action and feedback, must be developed concurrently so they can relate and interact. Characterization, assessment and monitoring protocols must relate directly to the guidelines that tie them together. A common analogy is the patient with clogged arteries: it does the patient no good to apply a band-aid over his heart and then monitor his condition by taking his temperature. A patient assessment is needed that leads to specific remedial actions and monitoring that are relevant to the case along with maintaining healthy body functions.
Restoration is considered to be restoration of natural conditions. This is not possible in most situations. Rehabilitation is considered to be the modification of habitats to achieve a functional goal. Stock recovery can be achieved without necessarily meeting the desired condition of some habitat parameters. The “goal” is a standard that a rehabilitation project must accomplish to effectively recover a specific stock; it is likely a watershed and species specific parameter. For example, the optimum width of a floodplain for restoration of a specific stream type might be 200 feet but, based on the topography and geomorphology of the channel and floodplain, a specific goal might vary and be substantially more or less than 200 feet in places.
It is important to remember that it will be crucial to fund, schedule and carry out performance monitoring of restoration projects to assure success of the project and the techniques and technologies utilized.
There are numerous stream habitat elements for which habitat restoration guidelines are needed.
Integrated stream corridor management guidebook. This would consist of a series of specific documents that provide detailed guidelines for all significant restoration and protection activities. The stream corridor management guidelines must mesh with and be complemented by larger scale and more broadly scoped ecosystem and watershed protection approaches and strategies. Other future activities that will need to be coordinated with this proposal include:
· Review and amendment of federal standards, such as Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Field Office Technical Guides (FOTGs);
· Habitat Conservation Plan developed by WDFW for its Hydraulic Project Approval permitting program;
· Design and approval process for projects under 2SHB 2879 permit streamlining;
· Rule changes as necessary under the Shoreline Management Act, Floodplain Management Act, and the Hydraulics Code; and
· Project selection and funding for habitat restoration.
An example of habitat protection guidelines is WDFW’s Integrated Streambank Protection Guidelines (ISPG). These draft Guidelines describe a process for bank erosion assessment and stabilization design. While it is generally agreed that streambank stabilization can be detrimental to fish, some stream reaches will continue to be stabilized. Therefore it is necessary to develop habitat mitigation and restoration guidelines for this activity. Some restoration activities may also require streambank stabilization to which these guidelines would apply directly.
The Integrated Stream Corridor Management Guidelines will be implemented through a variety of means, such as:
· “Best available science” for interpretation of permit conditions and mitigation under the Shoreline Management Act and the Hydraulics Code;
· Minimum standards for permit streamlining; and
· The basis for state-federal agreements on interpretation of the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Field Office Technical Guides (FOTG).
A workplan has been developed building upon the on-going efforts of the Interagency Stream Corridor Workgroup. The ISCW includes members from WDFW, Ecology, WSDOT, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The long-term goal of achieving integrated stream corridor management guidelines for the state, which are also agreed to by federal agencies, will require additional funding to enable continuation and timely completion of the work of the Interagency Stream Corridor Workgroup. The ISCW will be seeking funding for these activities through the Salmon Recovery Funding Board.
Twelve general project types have tentatively been identified as needing technical guidelines. Specific guidelines will be identified through a technical scoping process and workshops that will include design engineers, resource managers, contractors, regulators, interested parties and other technical experts.
Guiding principles will first be developed as a basis for the technical guidelines. The proposal includes development of the guidelines themselves, integration with related standards and rules at other levels of government, initial and continued technical outreach and training, and periodic updates as information comes in from restoration monitoring activities.
In addition to providing the best science for specific project design, the guidelines will be used in the evaluation of projects for funding decisions, permit streamlining, and in making permit decisions more consistent and predictable.
The general success of project permitting, permit streamlining and integrated stream corridor guidelines will be measured by monitoring positive or negative changes in habitat conditions as part of the overall Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon.
The specific success can be monitored through a coordinated tracking and reporting system for habitat protection and restoration projects being developed by the Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation and the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office.