Dungeness Water Action planners hoping for local change

Jun.30, 2011

by Lois Krafsky-Perry & Sue Forde
Citizen Review Online


onp rangersSequim, WA - "Things have changed as to how we do business," said Dean Yoshina, as he opened the Dungeness Watershed Action Plan meeting, June 28, 2011 at Guy Cole Convention Center at Carrie Blake Park. Approximately 65 people were in attendance.

Yoshina, a District Park Ranger at Hood Canal Ranger District, credited the forest service for helping with change in the past 15-20 years. "With timber harvest recognition of the past, things changed," he announced.

Recognizing volunteer involvement, the ranger stated there are greater funding challenges ahead. "I recognize we may not be able to change some things you want. If we are not relevant to our constituents, then we will have a bigger problem," he said.

Facilitator Kathleen Dowd-Gailey, representing Olympic National Forest, explained the meeting agenda objectives and ground rules listing conduct expected by the attendees.

Clallam County Commissioner, Mike Doherty (D), who gave opening remarks applologized for his fellow Commissoner and State Representative, Steve Tharinger, who was busy and unable to attend the meeting.

map"Many people do not know there is a healthy economy working on conservation here in watershed estuaries," said the district 3 county commissioner. He continued, "by having these collaborative processes we can keep it that way."

Doherty said he attended some of the Skokomish meetings and "given the process, people are happy with it."

Congressman Norm Dicks was scheduled to also give opening remarks, but was replaced by Judith Miller, who is district representative for Dicks.

Dicks was later vocally applauded for his involvement with the Skokomish Watershed Restoration (three year) Plan. He was a participant in their, 'action team'.

Booklets about the Skokomish Plan were passed out by Susan Piper, Olympic National Forest, Wildlife Botany and Invasive Plant Program Manager, before the meeting.

Mike Anderson of The Wilderness Society, who is Senior Resource Analyst, later spoke about the Skokomish Plan and encouraged the attendees to note the success of that plan. He said he has worked on it for over five years and said, "We are mostly done with the ambitious plan. Dungeness is a great opportunity for something like this," said Anderson." He said the Dungeness should take lead on the upper watershed.

The Wilderness Society supports the "Wildlands Project" as promulgated by United Nations Agenda 21. (See Wildlands Project - Step by Step) (Watch Henry Lamb discuss the UN Biodiversity Treaty)

"I appeal to some here for efforts on restoration here with some diverse partnerships," urged Anderson. He suggested working with the Dungeness River Management Team (DRMT). " A collaborative group, perhaps can play a lead role in their collaboration. A team that makes sense," said Anderson. The DRMT was formerly chaired by commissioner Tharinger, who also chaired the Salmon Recovery Board.
Paul Haines, Public Works Director representing City of Sequim, described his view of the importance of watersheds. Maps were positioned at the back of the room, to view proposals, for Sequim.

Dungeness Water Action Plan maps including "Infiltration Basins" and Pipeline Alignment" were available for viewing. The maps (#10217) were designed by Skillings Connolly, Jan.2011.

Scott Chitwood, Jamestown Sklallam Tribe, described restoration efforts from the tribe in the watershed.

"Most important is the lower basin, but now turning attention to the upper part of the basin," he said. He discussed endangered species of fish.

Scott Hagerty, Olympic National Forest, Soil Scientist, described past and present watershed restoration efforts from Olympic National Park (ONP).

Susan Piper announced, "The Dungeness Action Plan will be similar to the Skokomish." We can work on other watersheds, but now working on these three. She referred to Skokomish, S'Klallam and Dungeness. She gave kudos to Norm Dicks, who helped with federal funding.

The Skokomish Watershed Action Team's (SWAT) funding strategy for the three year action plan identifies 25 separate funding sources, such as landowners, and local and state, and federal governements. The total cost for all 42 projects, in the upper, and lower watershed is $48.6 million, which includes the $17,23 million appropriation needed for federal support. [Executive Summary] pg. 3.

When asked by an attendee if local taxes would be utilized to pay for the Dungeness project, Yoshina stammered, "I don't think I have heard that question before." He said there are many federal appropriations and grants. "Ultimately everything is taxed," he affirmed.

Wilderness advocate Anderson stated that it is federally funded and mentioned timber sales, as well.

Commissioner Doherty explained timber receipts.

Bob, an audience member observed, "it sounds like The Wilderness Society is a driver of this...does the Wilderness Society have a stake in this?"

Anderson answered, "Yes." The Dungeness is a water supply, he stated, and described their stake as the recognition that people need a healthy watershed and need water to drink. He said there is an awareness of where to get drinkable water.


For more background on The Wildlands Project, see "The Rewilding Project" (outside link)