Committee formed to figure out how to pay for watershed plans

DOE Press Release

OLYMPIA, WA- As communities across the state finish plans for managing their water in the future, a new committee has been formed to advise the legislature on how to pay for implementing those "watershed" plans.

The new Watershed Plan Implementation Committee is being formed at the request of the legislature and will be coordinated by the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology). Its first meeting is in Olympia on Tuesday, April 2.

Since 1998, 42 watersheds have taken up the challenge of making sure there is water to sustain communities, crops, fish and wildlife for future generations. Thirteen of them are scheduled to complete their plans in the fall of 2003.

"Hundreds of people across the state have put in countless hours to devise local solutions for managing water in their communities. It's an unprecedented effort, and now we need to make sure their visions are fulfilled," said Ecology Director Tom Fitzsimmons.

A 16-member committee made up of community, business, water supplier, local government, tribal and environmental leaders has been tapped to explore innovative ways to pay for implementing local watershed plans. The committee will bring its ideas to the state legislature in the 2003 session.

The charges for the select committee include:

Evaluate how much the watershed plans will cost to implement.
Identify existing and potential sources of funding.
Recommend how authority and responsibility for implementing and updating watershed plans should be structured.
The committee members include Clallam Co. Commissioner Steve Tharinger; Clark Co. Commissioner Betty Sue Morris; Klickitat Co. Commissioner Joan Frey; Hal Thomas of the Walla Walla Public Works Department; Tom Anderson from the Whatcom Co. PUD; Dick Price of Stevens Co. PUD; Randy Black of the Lakewood Water District; Greg Brizendine of the East Wenatchee Water District; Mike Jeldness of the Dungeness Water Users Association; Brian Perleberg of Northern Resource Consulting in Longview; Jay Watson of the Hood Canal Coordinating Council; Joe Peone from the Colville Tribes; David Troutt of the Nisqually Tribe; Jim Trull from the Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District; Urban Eberhart, a farmer from Ellensburg; and Doug Soehl from Trout Unlimited.

The first 13 plans that will be completed in fall of 2003 are in the Nooksack, San Juan, Lower Skagit, Upper Skagit, Nisqually, Elwha/Dungeness, Lower Yakima, Upper Yakima, Naches, Entiat, Methow, Lower Chehalis and Upper Chehalis. Final plans must be adopted by the local county councils or board of commissioners before they may be implemented.

Media Contact: Sheryl Hutchison, Communications Director, 360-407-7004
Dick Wallace, Dept. of Ecology watershed-planning coordinator, 360-407-7144

Watershed planning Web site:


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