Progress made on comprehensive culvert approach

by <a href="mailto:carls@awcnet.org">Carl Schroeder</a>, <a href="mailto:shannonm@awcnet.org">Shannon McClelland</a> | Mar 27, 2020
We are very happy to report that all three state supplemental budgets include elements that begin addressing statewide culvert correction.

We are very happy to report that all three state supplemental budgets include elements that begin addressing statewide culvert correction. The operating, capital, and transportation budgets include provisions that support and build upon the need for the state to create an expansive vision to address fish passage issues.

We know the state faces a $4+ billion price tag to address their fish-blocking culverts in the state transportation system. We also know that cities have nearly 1,300 barriers in the same streams. We have been advocating for the need to have a more comprehensive plan for many years.

In summary, the budgets direct the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board (FBRB), which AWC helped create and participates in, to look at the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) injunction culverts and compare them against the known barriers up and down stream. FBRB will then make recommendations about what other non-state-owned barriers should be corrected to achieve three specific fish recovery goals:

  1. Improvements to endangered fish runs;
  2. Improvements to fish runs that support Orca; and
  3. Improvements to fish runs that are depressing tribal, commercial, and recreational harvest levels because of risk of bycatch (accidentally catching fish from a weak stock).

FBRB will put together key correction packages that could complement state injunction response as options for funding next year. This is part of our effort to show the state how to maximize the value of this public investment by addressing fish passage barriers on a more watershed basis, as described in this data story that we produced to illustrate the need.

salmon-iconCity priorities – Outcomes

The Legislature:

PRO: Adopted all three state supplemental budgets with elements that support the state's more expansive vision to address fish passage, including strategic investment support for cities. This will inform the larger funding conversation by the state next session.

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