Donate Now! Subscribe

WA Wild Coordinates Letter Supporting Petition to Close Loophole Threatening Salmon Habitat

Posted on Jul 6, 2023 in Conservation News, WA Wild Blog
Following a letter we sent in May regarding WDFW’s recent approval of a Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) permit for motorized mining in Peshastin Creek, WA Wild is continuing to place pressure on the state agencies entrusted with protecting critical habitat as we continue to work to recover our imperiled salmon populations.

Photo: Chip Phillips

A law is only as strong as the regulations and enforcement enacted by the state agencies in charge of implementation. Not only is Peshastin Creek part of a watershed designated as critical salmon habitat, but the removal of this water will be conducted without a water right. In other words, WDFW acted contrary to the intent and requirements of the law, issuing a permit without all the necessary permits and approvals from WDOE. This recent HPA permit approval should be rescinded and has exposed a loophole in the agency regulations pertaining to ESHB 1261, which WDFW and WDOE should close immediately. 

Signed by 64 local stakeholders, this most recent letter supports a petition for rulemaking filed by our partners at Fish Not Gold. Set to be considered by WDFW Commissioners on July 14th, the petition calls for the Commissioners to 1) rescind HPA permit (No. 31017) approved for Peshastin Creek and any others that may have been issued without a water right, 2) not issue any other permits without proof applicants have obtained a water right issued by WDOE, and 3) immediately amend the agency regulations pertaining to ESHB 1261 to require HPA permit applicants to submit proof of a water right, closing this “loophole” to ensure it is not exploited in the future.