Dent legislation to streamline fish habitat project review process signed into law

On Friday, Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation into law that will streamline the review process for fish habitat projects.

House Bill 1187, sponsored by 13th District Rep. Tom Dent, comes from work he was doing with the AgForestry organization.

“We are working hard to improve fish habitat in Washington state. No one wants to continue to hear about poor fish runs or fishing seasons potentially being closed,” said Dent, R-Moses Lake. “This legislation is just a small part of what we can do to restore fish runs to improve our recreational, commercial and tribal fisheries, as well as help our orca population in Puget Sound.”

The measure removes 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. Conservation districts will now approve the fish habitat enhancement projects.

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

The bill passed through the Legislature unanimously.

Dent did not attend the bill signing. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Inslee is signing all bills sent to him in isolation, with no public ceremonies. Lawmakers have been asked not to attend. The bill signings are being broadcast on TVW.

The bill takes effect on June 10, 2020.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov