For projects that impact wetlands, applicants must seek regulatory approval. Applicants should submit a Joint Aquatic Resource Permits Application (JARPA), along with any additional information applicable to the project (e.g., mitigation plan, restoration plans, etc.) to our Federal Permit Unit by mail or email to:
Washington Department of Ecology
Attention: Federal Permit Unit
PO Box 47600
Olympia WA 98504
Resources and links
- Wetland mitigation resources - Applicants proposing to alter aquatic resources must go through mitigation sequencing to avoid and minimize impacts before determining whether compensatory mitigation is appropriate and a permit is required. Compensatory mitigation involves restoring (re-establishing, rehabilitating), creating (establishing), preserving, or enhancing aquatic resources to replace those lost or degraded through permitted activities.
- Environmental Permitting Assistance - The Washington State Governor's Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA) helps citizens, businesses, and project applicants understand and navigate Washington’s environmental permitting processes.
- Environmental & governmental agencies
- Hire a qualified wetland professional - We offer recommendations to help you locate and select a professional who is qualified to assist with wetland issues, including completing permit application forms and studies needed to meet wetland regulations.
State laws that protect wetlands are broader than current federal regulations. The state can establish protocols for managing wetlands falling outside federal jurisdiction. For example, impacts to wetlands outside federal jurisdiction are authorized through administrative orders under the state Water Pollution Control Act.
In general, the state emphasizes a local approach to wetland protection and regulation. The state Growth Management Act (GMA) authorizes and requires cities and counties to regulate wetlands within their jurisdictions. This is typically accomplished by adopting a Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO). We play an advisory role by providing comments during CAO updates and offering technical assistance.
- Local wetland regulations and Growth Management Act technical assistance - We provide technical assistance to local governments under GMA including assistance in developing comprehensive plan policies and development regulations and implementing local wetland regulations.
- Critical Areas Ordinance guidance - Our CAO guidance describes the important topics to be addressed in the wetlands section. It includes recommendations for wetland protection based on best available science:
- Department of Commerce's Growth Management Services - This service assists and guides local governments, state agencies, and others to manage growth and development in a manner that is consistent with the GMA.