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1 Practice: Washington State Ferries Creosote Removal Initiative
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Habitat/Ecosystem Connectivity & Conservation
Hazardous Waste & Brownfields
Stormwater, The Clean Water Act, & Section 404
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Washington
Organization: Washington State Department of Transportation
Contact: Tim Smith
Title: Director of Terminal Engineering
Email: smitht@wsdot.wa.gov
Phone: (206) 515-3701
Description: The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Washington State Ferries (WSF), in order to improve water quality in Puget Sound, embarked on a project to remove creosote-treated timber from its 19 ferry terminals. The creosote has been found to be toxic to fish, marine organisms, and humans, so as part of its commitment to integrate habitat concerns into the design and maintenance of its terminals the WSF began replacing the timber structures with steel or concrete pilings. This project has dramatically improved the water quality in the waters surrounding the terminals in Puget Sound.
Related Documentation: http://wwwcf.fhwa.dot.gov/exit.cfm?link=http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Environment/HazMat/wasterecycle.htm#creostoe
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
2 Practice: Environmental GIS Workbench
Categories: GIS and Spatial Data
Linking Planning and NEPA
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Washington
Organization: Washington State Department of Transportation
Contact: Elizabeth Lanzer
Title: Environmental Information Program Manager
Email: lanzere@wsdot.wa.gov
Phone: 360-705-7476
Description: Washington State and Washington State DOT (WSDOT) have become national leaders in the development of innovative methods for sharing geographic data about environmental conditions and natural resource management. Within WSDOT, the Environmental section within the agency’s GIS Workbench provides a key role in this area. The WSDOT GIS Workbench is a custom built, database-driven internal application that provides customized views of the agency’s shared GIS data library for various business purposes, including environmental review and documentation. The Environmental Information Program provides data administration, user training and helpdesk support for the agency’s Environmental GIS users. Approximately 400 environmental and natural resource GIS datasets are available through the GIS Workbench. These data are acquired and updated, documentation is updated and posted, and then customized map displays are developed and made available through the GIS Workbench so that the data is ready to use in corridor planning, project scoping, environmental permit applications, and other documentation like biological assessments. The GIS Workbench’s environmental section has become a standard operating tool for effective and efficient environmental review. The Environmental Information Program’s on-going support to keep the data updated, to incorporate additional data for new requirements, and to update and train end users about the available data has been crucial to the success of the GIS Workbench.
Related Documentation: http://wwwcf.fhwa.dot.gov/exit.cfm?link=http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Environment/GIS/workbench.htm
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
3 Practice: Alternatives in Roadside Vegetation Management in Washington State
Category: Roadside Vegetation & Invasive Species
State: Washington
Organization: Washington State Department of Transportation
Contact: Raymond Willard
Title: Roadside Maintenance Program Manager
Email: willarr@wsdot.wa.gov
Phone: (360)-705-7865
Description: The Alternatives in Roadside Vegetation Management report documents the costs, outcomes and recommendations resulting from 43 individual case studies of roadside vegetation alternatives alongside Washington State highways. While WSDOT has historically maintained a bare-ground strip along most State highway pavement edges with the use of non-selective herbicides, many other State DOTs and county road maintenance organizations do not maintain a bare-ground strip on all road shoulders. This initial survey concluded that there are a variety of methods being applied in management of vegetation at the pavement edge.
Related Documentation: http://wwwcf.fhwa.dot.gov/exit.cfm?link=http://www.wadot.wa.gov/Research/Reports/700/736.1.htm
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
4 Practice: Washington State Department of Transportation Fish Passage Program
Categories: Environmental Stewardship & Streamlining
Habitat/Ecosystem Connectivity & Conservation
Interagency Funded Positions
Wildlife and Threatened & Endangered Species
State: Washington
Organization: Washington State Department of Transportation
Contact: Paul Wagner
Title: Biology Branch Manager
Email: wagnerp@wsdot.wa.gov
Phone: (360) 705-7406
Description: In 1991, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) partnered to restore aquatic ecosystems by improving fish passage and stream function at road crossings. In the Pacific Northwest, aquatic populations such as salmon and stream habitat are a natural resource for the region and are indicators of ecosystem integrity.

Adult salmon return to the same freshwater streams where they hatched in order to spawn a new generation. Juvenile salmon spend time in freshwater before they travel downstream to saltwater. Roadway culverts are often an obstacle for adult and juvenile salmon as they make their way upstream from saltwater or as they move within upstream areas to search for food and cover. The culverts are an obstacle because of their high water velocity, varying water depth, and gradient changes that can obstruct fish migration and movement through freshwater.

WSDOT provides funding to WDFW to hire staff responsible for conducting an inventory of fish barriers and correcting existing barriers. Along with stakeholders, the agencies work together to design and implement fish barrier corrections. WSDOT and WDFW use the best available science to understand fish passage needs, habitat utilization, and culvert design. WSDOT contributes funding for fish passage research and developed research partnerships with Battelle Marine Sciences Laboratory, the University of Washington, Washington State University, the Federal Highway Administration, the States of Oregon and Alaska, and the US Forest Service.

In the past, roadway culverts were designed for hydraulic capacity, however, today WSDOT and WDFW develop designs that mimic streamflow. New designs include a wider stream and more gradual gradient that is similar to the natural stream shape. Culvert improvements can include a replacement of the culvert or the installation of a bridge, which also improves ecological function and species movement.

Since the establishment of the Fish Passage Program, staff assessed 6,000 crossings and conducted 236 corrections in both existing culvert corrections and as part of typical highway projects, improving access to over 750 lineal miles of stream habitat.
Last Updated: March 10, 2014
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