Water Withdrawal

These activities require a Fish Habitat Permit (PDF 69 kB).

Water withdrawals include any operation in which water is pumped from a stream. Several examples include using water to maintain vegetation, build ice roads, or if water is pumped from a stream during a diversion/dewatering operation.

caption follows
Screen for 4-inch pump rated @ 750 gpm

Water withdrawals can be a risk to fish, especially juveniles, if the pump intake has enough velocity to suck fish in, or if site is unintentionally dewatered. A Division of Habitat Fish Habitat Permit for water withdrawal carries screening stipulations for the pump intake. These conditions dictate maximum mesh opening sizes for the screens to prevent fish from entering the pump and a maximum approach velocity for water at the screen’s surface to prevent fish from being entrained or impinged on the screen. The intake screen mesh size and dimensions are influenced by the different swimming abilities of various species and age classes of fish present at the water withdrawal site and the pump rate.

One simple method to screen a 30-gallon-per-minute or less pump for use in an anadromous stream is to drill 3/32-inch holes throughout a sealed five gallon bucket and then center the intake inside this bucket. For larger pumps, screens may be constructed from perforated plate or wedgewire/profile bar.

Please contact the Habitat office closest to your project site for assistance in determining the appropriate screen criteria for your project.

If your project occurs in a fish bearing waterbody, the following stipulations (or other stipulations necessary to protect fish habitat) may be written into your permit:

  • All bank cuts, slopes, fills or other exposed earthwork shall be stabilized to prevent erosion and sedimentation.
  • The suction hose at the water extraction site must be clean and free from contamination at all times to prevent introduction of contamination to the water bodies, and should be in water of a sufficient depth so that the stream sediments are not disturbed during the extraction process.
  • There shall be no vehicles or equipment operated within the open water of the stream, with the exception of the water withdrawal pump intake.
  • To avoid entrainment, impingement, or injury to anadromous fish, a properly sized and screened structure must surround the water intake structure. The screen mesh shall not exceed 3/32 inches (2.4 millimeter) and the water velocity at the screen surface shall not exceed 0.4 feet per second at the screen water interface.
  • Adequate flow must remain to support indigenous aquatic life and the watercourse must not be blocked to the passage of fishes
  • The intake screen shall be periodically monitored during operations to ensure that the screening has not collapsed to below the minimum distance between the water intake and screen surface, that there are no openings in the mesh or gaps between the mesh and frame of intake structure greater than 2.4 mm, and that the screen has not become blocked by debris.

Most water withdrawals will require a water use permit from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Division of Mining, Land and Water. Additional permits, authorizations or reviews may be needed from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation if the water is being discharged into a water body after use.

caption follows
Screen for 4-inch rated @ 700gpm
Other Permitting Agencies Related Documents and Pages
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Fish Habitat Permit Application (PDF 69 kB)
Alaska Department of Natural Resources;
Division of Mining, Land and Water
Anadromous Waters Catalog
Catalog of Waters Important for the Spawning,
Rearing, or Migration of Anadromous Fish
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Special Areas Permit Application (PDF 134 kB)
U.S. Forest Service Culvert Application (PDF 94 kB)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ADF&G Streambank Restoration Guide
Kenai Multi-Agency Permitting NOAA Habitat Restoration
Screened Intake Design (PDF 2,558 kB) An Alternative to
Traditional Screened Box Enclosures for Protection of Fish