Treaty Tribes release the State of Our Watersheds Report – NW Indian Fisheries Commission

If you are into protecting the environment, here’s a good read. In some ways, a good compliment to the Puget Sound Partnership’s “State of the Sound” report

Ongoing damage and destruction of salmon habitat is resulting in the steady decline of salmon populations across western Washington, leading to the failure of salmon recovery and threatening tribal treaty rights, according to a report released today by the treaty Indian tribes.

http://nwifc.org/2012/09/treaty-tribes-release-the-state-of-our-watersheds-report/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nwifc+%28NWIFC+News%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Dungeness Water Rule: Two ‘yeas,’ one ‘probably’ – Sequim Gazette

The contentious battle over water rights in the Dungeness watershed comes closer to a resolution.

“With the date of anticipated promulgation growing closer, State Reps. Steve Tharinger and Kevin Van De Wege continue to support the final approval of the Dungeness Water Management Rule. “

Comments on the article were by the usual suspects, real estate agents that claim a harm to the market, but have no data to actually support their claims. Let’s remember that the market is already in the tubes because of a economic downturn, caused by an unregulated lending market in the last decade while the political party they blame for this was out of power.

http://www.sequimgazette.com/news/article.exm/2012-07-26_dungeness_water_rule___two__yeas___one__probably_

Public comment period begins today on proposed water management rule for the Dungeness

OLYMPIA – The public can submit comments beginning today on a proposed water management rule for the Dungeness watershed.

If adopted, the new rule drafted by the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) will protect existing water supplies for current uses and fish habitat and make it easier for local governments to affirm that water is legally available for future water uses. The new rule will bring certainty to the process of obtaining water for new uses in a basin where a growing population and limited water availability have prevented Ecology from permitting new water rights since the 1990s.

A new water management rule for the Dungeness has been recommended by the Local Leaders Water Management Group, which has been working with Ecology since February 2011 to identify water supply issues in the watershed and recommend solutions. Members of the LLWG (their acronym) include Clallam County, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, city of Sequim, the Sequim-Dungeness Water Users Association, and Ecology.

“The draft water management rule for the Dungeness basin is an excellent example of what collaboration and cooperation between state government and the local community can achieve in protecting our water resources,” said Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant. “This rule if adopted will ensure that the water needs of local residents as well as growth and economic development and fish habitat are met into the future.”

The proposed rule would:

  • Establish instream flow levels (a water right for the stream) in the Dungeness to protect fish and wildlife habitat.
  • Establish reserves of water for future indoor domestic use.
  • Allow water storage projects.
  • Require mitigation for all new use of water, including permit-exempt wells.
  • Require measuring of new water use.
  • Close surface water to new withdrawals with the exception of seasonal water from the Dungeness.

The new rule will not affect:

  • Existing water rights at the time the rule becomes effective (tentatively in the fall of 2012), including continued use of permit-exempt wells where regular beneficial use began previously.
  • Tribal or federal reserved rights to water.

An economic Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) has been completed for the proposed rule which has been filed with the state code reviser. Over 20 years, the analysis shows the projected benefits of adopting the new rule exceeding the costs.

The proposed water management rule for the Dungeness is available online. Visitors to the Website can get directions on submitting comments electronically on the rule, submitting comments by e-mail or by mailing comments to Ecology. Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. July 9, 2012. Ecology expects adoption of the rule no earlier than August 31, 2012.

An open house and public hearing on the proposed rule is scheduled Thursday, June 28, 2012, at the Guy Cole Center in Carrie Blake Park, 202 North Blake Ave. in Sequim, WA.

  • Open house beginning at 5 p.m.
  • Presentation with a question and answer session at 6 p.m. followed by a public hearing.

###

Media Contacts:

  • Dan Partridge, 360-407-7139 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 360-407-7139 end_of_the_skype_highlighting; dpar461@ecy.wa.gov
  • Linda Kent, 360-407-6239 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 360-407-6239 end_of_the_skype_highlighting; linda.kent@ecy.wa.gov

Ecology’s Dungeness Water Management website (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/instream-flows/dungeness.html)

Bill that would allow construction in low-flow stream basins is dead

While not specifically about the Peninsula, this bill was a bad idea that could have affected us. This is what the battles here over the Water Resource Inventory Areas (WRIA) are about. Endangered salmon having enough water to spawn, or homeowners being able to drill ever more wells, and withdraw that water from the area.

Legislation that would have allowed people to build homes in areas closed to construction last year has been pulled by its author. Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen pulled her bill, Senate Bill 6312, which would have allowed landowners in the Fisher, Carpenter and East Nookachamps stream basins to build homes. Last summer, the Department of Ecology said there was too much water being withdrawn from the Fisher-Carpenter creek basins and that salmon could be harmed as a result. Ecology closed the basins to residential well drilling, effectively curtailing all residential development there.

Bill that would allow construction in low-flow stream basins is dead
http://www.goskagit.com/news/article_f38d41b8-8044-11e1-bd19-001a4bcf887a.html

If you are interested in reading more on the science behind the politics of in-stream flow…here is a starting point.

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