Governor signs into law bipartisan legislation from Rep. Waters to help remove fish barriers

A bipartisan bill from Rep. Kevin Waters that will boost the state’s efforts to remove fish barriers in Washington is set to become law later this year after the governor signed it on Monday.

House Bill 2045 will facilitate the removal of fish barriers on lands owned by local governments by creating the “Adopt a Fish Barrier” program, through which local governments may receive private donations.

“Fish barriers are a serious problem for salmon and steelhead recovery in Washington,” said Waters, R-Stevenson. “One of the biggest issues we face is a lack of funding. State government has limited financial resources to address the challenges associated with removing these barriers. That’s why this bill is important.”

The legislation will allow coordination with current fish barrier programs to pair donations with grant applications already in progress. The Recreation and Conservation Office will keep a list of projects suited to receiving private donations so a person can choose which project they want to donate to.

“This bill is going to help resolve the funding issue because there are many community members and businesses that want to help,” said Waters. “This legislation will allow them to donate money to local governments, which will give the state more resources to remove harmful barriers.”

Donations of $10,000 or more would be recognized with a sign at the corrected barrier. Donations of $100,000 or more would also receive a plaque signed by the governor with their name, the location of the project, the amount and year of the donation, and the fish species benefitting from their donation.

“This program is a win-win for fish and for the state,” added Waters. “It’s a simple but very effective way to address this problem without increasing costs to the state’s current fish barrier removal efforts.”

House Bill 2045 will take effect 90 days after adjournment of the 2024 session, which concluded on March 7.


Washington State House Republican Communications