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Regulatory Handbook -> Aquatic Resource Permits

Aquatic Resource Permits

Aquatic resources include both the physical elements of the aquatic environment, such as bedlands, tidelands, and shorelands; as well as life forms such as aquatic plants, fish, and shellfish that live within the aquatic environment.

The primary responsibility for managing the state's fish and shellfish resources lies with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which manages all fish and shellfish resources of the state. In cooperation with Fish and Wildlife, the state's Indian tribes also manage aquatic resources that are included in a series of treaties.

The Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) primary role is one of proprietor and trustee rather than regulator. The DNR manages, for the benefit of all current and future citizens of the state, two million acres of state-owned tidelands, shorelands, and beds of navigable lakes and rivers. Unlike many other states in which abutting upland owners were granted a "riparian" right to build out over navigable waters, Washington chose to become a "nonriparian" state at statehood.

Ecology also has regulatory jurisdiction related to aquatic resources, as discussed in this section. Additionally, Ecology has review and approval authority over shoreline permits, which are discussed in more detail in the local government section.

  • Aquatic Farm Registration : Culturing or transferring food fish, shellfish, and certain aquatic animals.
  • Aquatic Lands Right of Entry License : Activities that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) commonly authorizes under this license are for recreational, scientific, or environmental purposes. The activity cannot interfere with the use and enjoyment of the state-owned aquatic lands by others.
  • Aquatic Use Authorization (Aquatic Lands Lease): Most activities taking place on state-owned aquatic lands may require a lease. Contact your District Land Manager to determine if your proposal requires other forms of authorization.
  • Beach Prospecting : Mineral prospecting using equipment listed on the application, and in the following Seashore Conservation Areas:
    • Between Cape Disappointment and Leadbetter Point.
    • Between Toke Point and the South jetty on Point Chehalis.
    • Between Damon Point and the mouth of the Copalis River.
    • Between the mouth of the Copalis River and the southern border of the Quinault Indian Reservation.
  • Export Certificate (For Commercially Licensed Shellfish Companies): An export certificate is a document issued to commercially licensed shellfish companies that ship product (clams, mussels, oysters, geoducks) to Asian countries.
  • Fish Habitat Enhancement Projects : The applicant must meet the specified requirements stated on the permit application form.
  • Fish Stocking Application Permit (FinFish)
  • Fish Transport Application Permit (FinFish)
  • Fish Transport Permit : An approved Fish Transport Permit from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is required to transport fish into and through Washington State.
  • Harvest Site Certificate : This certificate is required for each parcel being harvested by a licensed shellfish company. It must be ready to display whenever you are in possession of commercial quantities of molluscan shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels, scallops) that you intend to sell for human consumption. DOH continually evaluates commercial shellfish growing areas and certified harvest sites to protect the public since shellfish can carry chemicals, bacteria, viruses, and marine biotoxins.
  • Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA): Work that uses, diverts, obstructs, or changes the natural flow or bed of any of the salt or fresh waters of state. Includes bed reconfiguration, all construction or other work waterward, under and over the ordinary high water line, including dry channels, and may include projects landward of the ordinary high water line (e.g., activities outside the ordinary high water line that will directly impact fish life and habitat, falling trees into streams or lakes, bridge maintenance, dike construction, etc.)
  • Scientific Collection Permit (SCPS)
  • Shellfish Import Application Permit (Shellfish - Import Permit)
  • Shellfish Operation License : Commercially harvesting and/or processing and shipping molluscan shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels, scallops).
  • Shellfish Transfer Application Permit (Shellfish)
  • Water Recreation Facility Operating Permit : Initial application for newly proposed facilities. Renewal application when annual or seasonal expire.
  • Water Type Modification : A WTMF is not required. It is a tool that can be used to make water type changes based on field verification. Prior to submittal of a forest practices application/notification, forest landowners are required to determine, in the field, the type of any regulated waters as identified in the forest practices rules (WAC 222) within proposed harvest boundaries, including the area within 200 feet of the proposal. In addition, field verified stream typing is required prior to placement or replacement of stream crossing structures for road construction or road maintenance.

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