House passes Dent legislation to streamline fish habitat project review process

On Thursday, the Washington State House of Representatives passed legislation that would streamline the review process for fish habitat projects.

House Bill 1187 sponsor, 13th District Rep. Tom Dent, said the legislation comes from the work of the Ag Forestry group at a time when fish habitat has become a high priority.

“It is not uncommon to read about fish runs decreasing or certain fishing seasons closing due to low numbers. Improving fish habitat has become a priority issue in Olympia,” said Dent, R-Moses Lake. “We are working in the Transportation Committee to address problem culverts for our fish habitat, looking to restore fish runs that would help our orca population in Puget Sound, while still helping our recreational and commercial fishermen.”

Under Dent's bill the requirement that eligible conservation district-sponsored fish habitat enhancement projects follow design standards established by the Washington Conservation Commission through an interagency agreement with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service is removed. Instead, conservation districts would approve the fish habitat enhancement projects.

“This allows our conservation districts to utilize a pathway I believe was originally intended by the Legislature. Projects must still meet certain criteria, but the process will be much more efficient,” said Dent.

The bill passed the House unanimously.

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn the 105-day session on April 28.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov