The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has long recognized the importance of minimizing the environmental impacts of Washington’s transportation system. As a part of that commitment to the environment, WSDOT created the Fish Passage Barrier Removal Program in 1991 to identify and correct barriers that restrict or completely block salmon and trout access to historic spawning and rearing habitat. That same year, WSDOT partnered with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to assess WSDOT-owned water crossing structures.
With this program, WSDOT can identify high priority barriers and correct them with dedicated fish passage program funds, while also continuing to correct barriers as part of other planned transportation projects.
On March 29, 2013, the U.S. District Court issued a permanent injunction requiring the State of Washington to accelerate barrier correction on salmon and steelhead streams west of the Cascade Mountains and north of the Willapa and Columbia River drainages. This includes numerous locations in the Kitsap Peninsula and Olympic Peninsula regions. Chico Creek is among those included in the federal injunction.
The Connecting Washington Transportation package and pre-existing funds provide up to $57.6 million for this project, including the environmental study, design engineering, and construction.