Upland Finfish Hatching & Rearing General Permit

Fish hatcheries play a large role in Washington's ability to create recreational and commercial fishing opportunities. The Upland Finfish Hatching and Rearing permit regulates the discharge of wastewater from certain hatcheries that raise salmon, trout, and other finfish species. 

The current permit went into effect April 1, 2016, and expired March 31, 2021.

Apply for a permit

Submit a new permit application

  1. Sign up for a SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account. SecureAccess Washington or SAW is the state of Washington’s secure portal to access and submit applications. 
  2. Add the WQWebPortal Service to your SAW account to reapply for coverage.
  3. Follow these instructions to reapply for the permit

Permit reissuance

We generally review and reissue permits on a regular schedule every five years. However, the current permit expired on March 31, 2021. Permittees with NOI applications that were previously accepted by Ecology, during the fall 2020 reapplication phase, will continue to have permit coverage for their operations. Facilities seeking new coverage must apply for future coverage under the upcoming permit.  

The permit reissuance process includes a formal public comment period on the draft permit, and formal public meetings and hearings (see the public comment period section below for more information). We plan to make a permit reissuance decision at the end of this process in summer 2021.

We are currently considering the following changes:

  • Add monitoring of effluent for nutrients and temperature for hatcheries that discharge to dissolved oxygen and temperature impaired waterbodies.
  • Integrate TMDL determinations (pollution limits) for hatcheries that discharge to waters with EPA-approved TMDLs.
  • Remove the ability for hatcheries to drop permit coverage if they fall below production threshold.
  • Add a requirement to submit an engineering checklist to help determine if facility modification or construction work will impact water quality.
  • Require, for clarity, grouped plan submittals, adding more sampling location specificity in the sampling plan and adding more flow reporting.

Timeline

March 31, 2021: Current permit expiration
April 6 to May 26, 2021: Formal public comment period on the draft permit
May 11 and 12, 2021: Workshops/Hearings
Summer 2021: Decision on draft permit reissuance
Fall 2021: Goal for new active permit

Public comment period

We are pleased to announce that the draft Upland Finfish Hatching and Rearing General Permit is available for public comment. We invite comments on the draft permit documents (links below) beginning April 7, 2021 until May 26, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.  After the close of the comment period, we will publish a Response to Comments as an appendix to the fact sheet to address comments submitted. 

How to provide comments

We will accept comments from April 7, 2021 until 11:59 p.m. on May 26, 2021.

You may submit comments:

  • Online: Submit your comments through our online comments form. (preferred method)
  • By mail: Laurie Niewolny, Washington State Department of Ecology,
                   PO BOX 47775
                   Olympia, WA 98504-7775
  • In person: Comments are accepted during any of our online pubic hearings

Workshops and hearings

During the workshop, we will explain the proposed changes to the permit and answer questions. The hearing will begin after the public workshop and will end when public testimony is complete. During the hearing, you may give oral testimony on the proposed changes. Written comments will receive the same consideration as oral testimony.

We will host a workshop on the permit immediately followed by a public hearing on the following dates:

Morning: Tuesday, May 11, 2021 10 a.m.
Webinar Link*

Evening: Wednesday, May 12, 2021  6 p.m.
Webinar Link*

*Workshops and hearings offered via webinar allow individuals to view the presentation and provide testimony via computer or mobile device. Ecology is not currently offering in-person hearings due to COVID-19 safety concerns. 

Regional contacts for help with your permit:

Regional Map showing southwest, northwest, central and eastern regions