Tougher Rules Aim To Save Salmon Habitat For The Good Of Puget Sound Orcas

A view of the new seawall being installed on the Seattle waterfront. It's designed to help juvenile salmon.
A view of the new seawall being installed on the Seattle waterfront. It's designed to help juvenile salmon. CREDIT: EILIS O'NEILL/KUOW

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It might soon be more difficult to build a seawall on Puget Sound.

The state legislature is considering a bill that aims to help southern resident killer whales by protecting shoreline salmon habitat.

Single-family homeowners who want to build a seawall could face a longer permit process under the bill. The Department of Fish and Wildlife would thoroughly review every proposed seawall for its potential effect on salmon habitat.

The bill would also give the agency the authority to issue stop-work orders as well as civil penalties of up to $10,000 to property owners who don’t comply with the law.

“We’ve got good laws on the books,” said Margen Carlsen with the department. “Let’s make sure that the agencies that are trying to implement those laws have all the tools they need to help people come into compliance and stay in compliance with that law.”

The bill has passed the House and is up for consideration in the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Monday.

You can follow the progress of HB1579 here.

Copyright 2019 KUOW 

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