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Washington State News

WDFW initiates process to update rules concerning docks and other floating structures

Public invited to comment on environmental analysis of proposed rule changes

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has initiated the process to update state hydraulic code rules related to the installation and use of flotation materials in overwater structures, such as docks and swim floats, to protect aquatic life and align with recent changes passed by the Washington State Legislature.

These rules govern the Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permitting process. WDFW issues HPA permits to protect fish and habitat during construction projects in and around state waters, including floating structures.

Substitute House Bill 1085, adopted by the Legislature in 2023 with the goal of reducing plastic pollution, established standards for the sale, distribution, and installation of flotation materials in overwater structures. The new flotation standards can be found in Chapter 70A.245 RCW, a law administered by the Washington Department of Ecology.

WDFW is conducting expedited rule making to amend WAC 220-660-140 and WAC 220-660-380, which address rules for overwater structures in freshwater and saltwater.

Amendments to these rules will incorporate language detailing standards for foam flotation from SHB 1085. Additionally, language regarding plastic wrap will be removed from WAC 220-660-140.

These proposed changes are subject to review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), and the public is invited to submit comments on the environmental review through Feb. 21 online at or by email at [email protected]. Additional materials and information can be found at WDFW’s SEPA website.

Expedited rule making does not include a formal public comment period. Questions or concerns about the rule making process or rule proposal should be sent via email to [email protected].

Formal objection to expedited rule making must be received in writing by March 25, 2024. People can send an email to [email protected] or mail a letter to Scott Bird, WDFW Rules Coordinator, PO Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98501.

To track rule-making progress and view documents for this effort, visit the project webpage.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife and recreational and commercial opportunities.