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Chronic Environmental Deficiencies

Photo of bank stabilization with large woody material and rock overburden on the Sauk River.

Chronic environmental deficiencies (CED) are locations along the state highway system where recent, frequent, and chronic maintenance repairs to the state transportation system are causing impacts to fish and fish habitat. In 2002, WSDOT established a partnership (Memorandum of Agreement) with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) to move away from the repetitive repair of WSDOT roads and instead, concentrate on long-term solutions that will optimize the improvements for fish and fish habitat, while also addressing transportation needs.

As part of the MOA agreement, WSDOT produces annual reports that highlight CED accomplishments from previous years and discusses future plans.

CED projects have to meet two qualifiers:

  1. Maintenance has been conducted on the site 3 times in the previous 10 years (3 in 10)
  2. The maintenance being conducted has a negative impact on aquatic fish habitat.

How are CEDs identified?

Potential CED's can be nominated by WSDOT, WDFW, Tribes or other concerned parties. Nominations come to the CED coordinator who works with WSDOT region staff to identify possible CED projects.  Nominations will be screened to determine if the sites meet the program's criteria. The initial site assessment consists of the CED coordinator, WSDOT's Senior Hydrologist, the Region Maintenance Environmental Coordinator, and persons familiar with the site verifying eligibility to the CED list and filing out an intake form with initial recommendations. Those projects meeting the criteria are all added to the list of CED sites.

For each site, WSDOT conducts either a reach assessment, reach analysis or corridor analysis that evaluates and identifies the hydrologic mechanisms for failure and develops a conceptual design solution. The reach assessment is at the core of the CED project development process and is conducted for each CED project site using methodology from the Integrated Streambank Protection Guidelines (ISPG; Washington State Aquatic Habitat Guidelines Program, 2002) and the Hydraulic and Engineering Circular Manuals 18, 20 and 23, and other sources.

In 2005, WDFW developed a prioritization methodology which provides a scientifically based priority to the order of CED correction.

How does WSDOT fund CED projects?

Those projects that qualify as Chronic Environmental Deficiencies can be fixed with project funds, some as emergencies, bridge funds, and others can get fixed as line item projects funded by the legislature under Improvement - Environmental Retrofit.

What has been accomplished so far?

The WSDOT CED program got off the ground in 2004, since then 11 high priority sites have gone through the process of reach assessments/analysis, design, and construction to correct the deficiencies. There are currently 15 CED projects funded for $72 million to design and construct by 2011.

The CED program has saved maintenance cost, reduced the loss of commerce due to road closures, removed or reused riprap and other material damaging aquatic habitat and replaced with rough woody structures designed to add salmonid habitat.

The CED program is currently working to develop a monitoring plan to monitor 3 major aspects of the Hoh River project; structural integrity, geomorphic changes and biological success of the project.


Projects by Region

ISV = Initial Site Visit
SOW = Scope of work

Eastern Region (Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Spokane, Adams, and Whitman)

North Central Region (Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, & Grant)

  • US 2 Tumwater Canyon
       Reach Analysis 2009 (pdf 4.8 mb)
  • US 2 Skinney Creek
       Reach Assessment 2010 (pdf 3.2 mb)
  • SR 20 Bonaparte Creek 
       Funded; construction 2010 and 2011
  • US 2 Wenatchee near Cashmere
       ISV complete; awaiting SOW
  • SR 207 Nason Creek
    Need ISV

Northwest Region (Whatcom, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, King, and east Pierce)


Olympic Region (Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor, Mason, Thurston, and west Pierce)


South Central Region (Kittitas, Yakima, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, and Asotin)


Southwest Region (Pacific, Wahkiakum, Lewis, Cowlitz, Clark, & Skamania)

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