Instream flow debate continues over Dungeness, Elwha Rivers


from the WA State Dept. of Ecology

Chapter 173–518 WAC - Instream Resources Protection and Watershed Management Program Elwha Dungeness - WRIA 18 (New WAC)

The Elwha Dungeness Water Inventory Resource Area is one of the only designated “water-critical” watersheds in western Washington without an instream flow rule. The adoption of this rule is needed to fulfill the statutory requirements of Chapters 90.54 and 90.82 RCW; implement those obligations Ecology agreed to in the watershed plan that must be addressed through regulations; protect instream resources and ESA-listed fish; allow Ecology to proceed with water right decisions; and provide a quantity of ground water and set up a framework in order to implement the watershed plan’s management strategies.

Read the "pre-proposal" here

MORE INFORMATION From the Dept. of Ecology website:

Instream Flows In Washington

The term “instream flow” is used to identify a specific stream flow (typically measured in cubic feet per second, or cfs) at a specific location for a defined time, and typically following seasonal variations. Instream flows are usually defined as the stream flows needed to protect and preserve instream resources and values, such as fish, wildlife and recreation. Instream flows are most often described and established in a formal legal document, typically an adopted state rule.

Once formalized in rule, instream flows are used for two primary water management purposes:

To determine whether water is available for new out-of-stream uses and regulate those new uses, and
To define the stream flows that need to be met in the stream.
Protecting Stream Flows:
Learn the basics about stream flows and instream flows, and why they are important.

Ecology’s Work Plan for Instream Flow Setting through 2010 (402kb pdf) is a working document that describes how the Departments of Ecology and Fish & Wildlife will address state-wide instream flow setting through 2010.

Current Activities:
Action plan for setting, achieving and protecting stream flows January 2004 through June 2005

Instream flow rules under development
Washington Water Acquisition Program, a voluntary program using state and federal funds, is providing an opportunity for water-right holders to participate in salmon recovery by selling, leasing or donating their water where critically low stream flows limit fish survival.

Watershed Planning:
Watershed planning groups are assessing whether stream flows are adequate for current and future uses. Many will be recommending instream flows as part of their water management plans.

The Science Behind Instream Flows:
Scientific methods for determining how much water fish need
Instream Flow Study (technical) Guidelines
River and stream flow monitoring

Laws and Rules:
Instream flow rules currently under development
Primary statutes and legal basis related to instream flows (24 K PDF)
Instream flow rules: Adopted Basin Plans and Instream Resources

Protection Programs
Resources and Studies:
Maps, publications, studies, links to other sites.

If you have technical or scientific questions about instream flows, contact:

Brad Caldwell
Department of Ecology, HQ
(360) 407-6639

Dr. Hal Beecher
Department of Fish & Wildlife
(360) 902-2421

For policy questions, contact:

Doug Rushton
Department of Ecology
(360) 407-6513




In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

Back to Current Edition Citizen Review Archive LINKS Search This Site