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WSDOT and Wetlands

fish rearing and over wintering habitat
The creation of fish rearing and over wintering habitat on Harris Creek was part of a WSDOT wetland mitigation effort near Carnation, Washington.

Technical Information

Looking for specific technical information or resources? The Assessment Toolbox and the Mitigation Toolbox provide links, templates and guidance for wetland practitioners.  Links to other wetland topics can be found on the left hand side of this page.   


WSDOT protects wetlands

Federal, state and local authorities regulate wetlands because of their importance. As a public works agency, WSDOT must obtain appropriate approvals and permits from regulatory agencies when projects cause damage to wetlands.

How does WSDOT protect wetlands? 

WSDOT’s Environmental Policy supports sound environmental protection practices in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of Washington’s transportation systems and facilities. In addition, WSDOT’s Wetlands Protection and Preservation Policy directs employees to protect and preserve wetlands, to ensure no net loss of wetlands, and to increase the quantity and quality of wetlands in the long term. The Transportation Decision-Making Process is a sequence of events that model efficient project delivery. The decision-making process incorporates mitigation sequencing to avoid and minimize impacts to wetlands.

When impacts to wetlands are unavoidable, WSDOT provides compensation by purchasing credits or building a mitigation site. WSDOT’s first order of work on a construction project is to install high visibility fencing (pdf 933 kb) to protect wetlands and other sensitive areas. Construction is monitored to insure all wetland impacts are permitted.

WSDOT reports on mitigation sites

After a wetland mitigation site is constructed, WSDOT staff monitors it to evaluate and report on its progress in providing required compensation. WSDOT manages the mitigation site to improve its performance until it is determined to be successful by regulating agencies. In addition to submitting monitoring reports on each site to regulatory agencies, we report on our progress in the Gray Notebook.

Wetland Monitoring Internship  

Interns assist WSDOT staff in collecting data in the field. In partnership with The Evergreen State College, WSDOT offers the Wetland Ecology and Monitoring Techniques internship each summer.