Skip Top Navigation

Federal Environmental Permits and Approvals

Project team hosts site visit.

Field review with permitting agency

WSDOT works with Native American Tribes and regulatory agencies at the federal, state, and local level to ensure our projects comply with all environmental regulations. The resulting permits and approvals enable our agency to build, manage, and operate the state’s highway and act as stewards of the environment.

This page provides information about environmental permits and approvals for WSDOT projects.

Frequently Asked Questions (pdf 57 kb) about permit streamlining.

Federal Permits and Approvals

Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) Permit
Bridge Permit
Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 Permit - Wetland/Streams
CWA Section 401 - Water Quality Certification
CWA Section 402 - National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction Stormwater General Permit
CWA WSDOT Municipal NPDES Stormwater General Permit
CWA NPDES General Permits
Coastal Zone Management Act Consistency Determination
Dept. of Transportation Act Section 4(f)
Endangered Species Act (ESA) 4(d) – Roadside Maintenance
ESA Section 7 Consultation
Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCFA) Section 6(f)
Marine Mammal Protection Act Permits
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Compliance
Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10 Permit
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act Coordination

Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) Permit

Trigger: Excavation or removal of archaeological resources from tribal or federal land, an ARPA permit is required.

Statutory Authority: 43 CFR 7.6 – 7.11

Regulatory Agency: Tribes and federal landowners (Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), National Park Service, military base, etc.)

Bridge Permit (Section 9)

Trigger: New construction, reconstruction, or modification of a bridge or causeway across a navigable waterway of the United States (includes temporary bridges over navigable waters).

Statutory Authority: 33 USC 9; 33 USC 11; 33 CFR 114 & 115

Regulatory Agency: US Coast Guard 13th District

Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 Permit - Wetland/Streams

Trigger: Discharging, dredging, or placing fill within waters of the US. Includes navigable waters, wetlands, lakes, rivers, streams, and tributaries.

Statutory Authority: CWA Sect. 404; 33 USC 1344; 33 CFR 330.5 & 330.6

Regulatory Agency: ACOE

CWA Section 401 - Water Quality Certification

Trigger: Actions requiring a federal permit that may result in a discharge of pollutants into waters of the US (i.e. Applicants seeking a Section 404 permit from the Corps or a Section 10 permit.) The Section 401 decision could be an Individual Permit or a Letter of Verification (LOV), depending on the type of NWP and proposed project impacts.

Statutory Authority: CWA Sec 401; RCW 90.48.260; WAC 173-225

Regulatory Agency: Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology), EPA (on some tribal lands), and Tribes.


CWA Section 402 - National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction Stormwater General Permit

Trigger: If a project disturbs one or more acres of soil and may discharge stormwater into surface waters of the state. Includes storm drains, ditches, wetlands, creeks, rivers, lakes, and marine waters.

Statutory Authority: 33 USC 1342; 40 CFR Parts 122, 123 & 124 Subchapter D; WAC 173-226

Regulatory Agency: Ecology


CWA WSDOT Municipal Stormwater NPDES General Permit

Trigger: Stormwater discharges from municipal separate storm sewers that WSDOT owns or operates. Ecology issued a permit to WSDOT within areas covered by the Phase I and II municipal stormwater permits.

Statutory Authority: 33 USC 1342; 40 CFR Parts 122, 123 & 124 Subchapter D; WAC 173-226

Regulatory Agency: Ecology


CWA NPDES General Permits

Trigger: Washing and painting of bridges and ferry terminals, nuisance aquatic plant and algae control, noxious aquatic plant control, aquatic mosquito control, and discharge of pollutants from WSDOT's sand and gravel mining operation.

Statutory Authority: 33 USC 1342; 40 CFR Parts 122, 123 & 124 Subchapter D; WAC 173-226

Regulatory Agency: Ecology


Coastal Zone Management Act Consistency Determination

Trigger: Activities within the 15 coastal counties that involve a federal permit or funding, which may impact Washington's coastal resources.

Statutory Authority: CZMA Sec 6217; 16 USC 1451 et seq.; 15 CFR 923–930; RCW 90.58

Regulatory Agency: Ecology


Dept. of Transportation Act Section 4(f)

Trigger: Use of parks and recreations lands, wildlife, and waterfowl refuges, and historical sites of national, state, or local significance triggers Section 4(f) procedural and documentation requirements.

Statutory Authority: 49 USC 4201; 23 CFR 774

Regulatory Agency: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP), and affected agency with site jurisdiction.

Endangered Species Act (ESA) 4(d) – Roadside Maintenance

Agreement: NMFS, WSDOT, and other local agencies developed a set of road maintenance policies and practices that met the dual goals of contributing to the conservation of threatened NOAA-listed Endangered Species Act (ESA) species, while meeting critical roadway safety and maintenance needs.

Statutory Authority: 16 USC 1531–1544

Regulatory Agency: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

ESA Section 7 Consultation

Trigger: Projects with a federal nexus (i.e., upon federal lands, federally funded, or requiring federal permits or approvals) trigger ESA procedural and documentation requirements. 

Statutory Authority: 16 USC 1531–1544

Regulatory Agency: NMFS/USFWS


Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCFA) Section 6(f)

Approval: Use of lands purchased with LWCFA funds triggers Section 6(f) procedural and documentation requirements. LWCFA administers funds through the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board.

Statutory Authority: 16 USC 4601-8(f)(3)

Regulatory Agency: FHWA, Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO), and the Secretary of the Interior

Marine Mammal Protection Act Permits

Trigger: Noise from pile driving may negatively affect marine mammals. The Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits the taking (harassment, injury, killing) of marine mammals, but includes two provisions that allow incidental takings of small numbers of marine mammals. NMFS issues two types of permits that allows the incidental take of marine mammals. Incidental Harassment Authorizations only allow project activities that may harass marine mammals, while Letters of Authorization allow for activities that may result in harm to marine mammals.

Statutory Authority: 16 USC Chapter 31

Regulatory Agency: NMFS

toptop

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

Trigger: Projects with a federal nexus (federal funding, on federal land, or if permits are required from a federal agency).

Statutory Authority: National Environmental Policy Act of 1969

Regulatory Agency: FHWA or other federal agency

National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Compliance

Trigger: Projects with a federal nexus require Section 106 procedural and documentation requirements. More extensive documentation is required when activities may potentially impact historic properties or archaeological resources.

Statutory Authority: 16 USC 470f; 36 CFR 800; RCW 43.51.750

Regulatory Agency: DAHP

Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10 Permit

Trigger: Any work in, over, or under navigable waters of the U.S. Types of activities include: rechanneling streams, adding or modifying piers, wharves, dolphins, bulkheads, buoys.

Statutory Authority: 33 CFR 322; 33 CFR 403

Regulatory Agency: ACOE

Wild and Scenic Rivers Act Coordination

Trigger: Projects with activities along federal Wild and Scenic Rivers (Skagit, Klickitat, and White Salmon Rivers) need to coordinate with the affected federal agency.

Statutory Authority: 16 USC 1271

Regulatory Agency: FHWA and responsible agency - Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mt. Adams Ranger District for the Klickitat and White Salmon Rivers; and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Mt. Baker Ranger District for the Skagit River.

toptop