Restoration and Permitting Program for Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish
Mitigation Reserves Program
The Restoration and Permitting Program for lakes Washington and Sammamish (RAP), previously known as Integrated Restoration and Permitting Program (IRPP), was implemented in 2017. RAP is a voluntary program to promote shoreline habitat restoration, environmentally-friendly pier and shoreline designs, and streamlined environmental permitting. RAP streamlined permitting process can be used for eligible pier and shoreline projects that require authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and are located within and on the shores of lakes Washington and Sammamish. To participate in this program, the project must meet all the requirements set by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (See Participation in the RAP).
RAP was designed through the collaboration of the Corps, NMFS, King County, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe Fisheries Division, and the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe Environmental and Natural Resources Department. RAP consolidates the existing minimization and restoration measures for pier and shoreline projects required by the various regulatory agencies into a single set of mandatory minimum design criteria.
RAP institutes a conservation fee and credit schedule designed to incentivize on-site restoration. Applicants are encouraged to implement conservation measures on-site to the maximum extent possible: credits are given for on-site minimization and restoration measures, and fees only apply if such measures are insufficient. Conservations fees are paid to King County Mitigation Reserves Program (MRP). MRP will use collected funds to implement habitat projects benefitting affected salmonid species on the shorelines of lakes Washington and Sammamish.
Participation in the RAP
RAP is administered by NMFS and the Corps. Information on how to participate in the program may be found in the Corps’ Electronic Permit Guidebook and by contacting NMFS staff. After NMFS and the Corps have processed the application and the Corps has authorized the project, if a conservation fee is part of the conditions in the permit, the applicant may request an invoice for the fee by submitting the RAP Conservation Fee Application to King County MRP staff. Once payment has been received, the applicant, NMFS, the Corps, and affected tribe(s) will be notified.
RAP-Funded Restoration Projects
Lake Washington Creosote Piling Removal
King County implemented a creosote-treated piling removal project in Lake Washington, on the eastern shoreline of Mercer Island. Through an innovative partnership, King County removed 19 creosote-treated pilings, supporting a solid-decked pier at a privately-owned single-family property. The creosote-treated pilings were in good condition and had 50 to 100 years of life remaining. The landowners chose to replace the entire dock, and NMFS required the new dock to be a smaller and fully RAP-compliant pier. RAP funding was used to pay for the removal and disposal of the creosote-treated pilings only, and all other demolition and construction costs related to the pier replacement were privately funded. Opportunities to work with private landowners to improve aquatic habitats and help recover ESA-listed salmonids in the Lake Washington watershed are limited, and creative and innovative approaches like this provide rare opportunities to reduce the negative impacts of existing in- and over-water structures in Lake Washington.
The removal of 19 creosote-treated pilings is anticipated to have immediate and lasting beneficial effects on Lake Washington through the removal of known sources of ongoing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination, which is known to be harmful to nearly all aquatic organisms, including ESA-listed salmonids. Without RAP funding for the removal of the creosote-treated pilings, the creosote-treated pilings would remain in the lake for many years to come.
Lake Washington Pile Removal
King County partnered with The Boeing Company to remove derelict piles located in nearshore aquatic bed at the south end of Lake Washington, east of the Cedar River. Piles can provide habitat for nonnative fish, such as bass and yellow perch, that prey on juvenile salmon.
As mitigation for Boeing’s Apron R Infrastructure Maintenance and Repair Project along the shoreline at their Renton facility, Boeing removed more than 350 piles to help offset the project impacts. They did not originally plan to remove all the derelict piles in the area, but King County’s Mitigation Reserves Program provided funding through RAP to remove the remaining derelict piles at the same time. In all, over 450 piles were removed. In separate actions by Boeing and others, nearby shoreline has been enhanced and planted with native vegetation, contributing to salmon recovery efforts in the vicinity.
For questions about King County's Mitigation Reserves Program, please contact program staff.