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WA State DOE

Commentary: We Wish To Be At The Table

Posted on February 9, 2013

Commentary by Pearl Rains Hewett
behindmyback.org.

North Olympic Peninsula, WA –

WE ARE THE VICTIMS OF THE APPOINTED DOE [Dept. of Ecology] DUNGENESS WATER RULE

“If you are not at the table/banquet, you are on the menu” … Commissioner Mike Chapman.

We wish to be represented at the table

I am requesting that our elected Clallam County representatives with due diligence, for we the people, find a way to place or appoint a……
VESTED AMERICAN CITIZENS ON THE WATER TRUST AND Dungeness water ADVISORY COMMITTEES Continue reading

Our elected representatives aren’t representing the ‘people’

Posted 3/2/2013

WA State – Pearl Rains-Hewitt raises the following question: “WHO IS DEAD IN OLYMPIA? OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES?”  She reports the following proposed bills which would help the people of Washington state as “dead on arrival”

Reclassify hydropower as renewable energy.

House Joint Resolution 4200 proposes an amendment to the state Constitution to require hydroelectric generation be recognized as a renewable resource. It would help recapture our state’s competitive advantage of offering abundant, affordable, clean energy for manufacturers and consumers. Did Not Receive a Public Hearing in House Environment Committee

Prioritizing state investments in storm water control.

House Bill 1235 would require the Department of Ecology to prioritize storm water assistance funding to local governments to help them satisfy their storm water permit requirements before funding other storm water-related projects. Public Hearing in House Environment Committee Continue reading

Commentary: Deprived Of Our Water

Posted on February 13, 2013

by Pearl Rains Hewett Commentary –
from Behind My Back.org

DEPRIVED OF OUR WATER RIGHTS AND OUR RIGHT TO WATER

An introduction to a series by Pearl Rains Hewett
behindmyback.org” – CLOUDED WATERS

DEPRIVED OF OUR WATER
BY THE APPOINTED FEDERAL – STATE AGENCIES – TRIBAL TREATY -TAPPED
This series of on the taking and depravation of our water rights will report, document and expose the many ways we the people are being deprived not only of our water right, but to our right to water.
THE Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The source point of our deprivation comes from THE TOP via a federally Appointed Agency. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is federally funded by our centralized US Government in DC.

UNITED STATES SENATE REPORT CLOUDED WATERS
(previously posted behindmyback.org.) Continue reading

Is the Dungeness Water Rule etched in stone? Perhaps not…

from Pearl Rains-Hewett
Behind My Back.org

Posted 2/5/2013

6 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:

7 Sec. 1. RCW 90.38.005 and 1989 c 429 s 1 are each amended to read

8 as follows:

9 (1) The legislature finds that:

 

It appears that the WA State Legislators can change WA State DOE Water Rules with a House Bill 1414 ?

36 to satisfy both existing rights, and other presently unmet as well as

37 future needs of the basin;

  Continue reading

Commentary: How will the DOE Dungeness Water Rule work in Clallam County?

by Pearl Rains-Hewett
Behind My Back.org

Posted 2/5/2013

It happened  in Skagit County, and now it has happened  in Clallam County.

The SKAGIT River Flow Management Committee is comprised of the groups that signed the original agreement: Skagit County, the PUD, Anacortes, Ecology, state Fish and Wildlife, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, the Upper Skagit Tribe and the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe.

“The Dungeness Exchange will have a local advisory board with invited representation from Clallam County, Department of Ecology, the Dungeness Water Users Association, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, City of Sequim, Clallam PUD No.1, Clallam Conservation District and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.” Continue reading

San Juan County regulations “unfriendly” toward local farmer

by Scott Roberts
Freedom Foundation

Posted 2/3/2013

 

San Juan County, WA  – Charles Dalton just wants to grow blueberries on his small organic, no-till farm. He built a barn without a permit, and the “Friends” of San Juan County turned him in. Now, San Juan County is treating Charles like a criminal. Instead of helping him through the process, San Juan County is throwing the book at him and piling on the requirements. There seems to be no end in sight. Watch this video and decide for yourself if San Juan County is working for the citizens of San Juan County, or if they are unduly influenced by the Department of Ecology and powerful special interest groups like the “friends”.  Watch the report below:

 

Open letter to Ecology: Show us where you are authorized by law to follow UN Agenda 21 policies

Posted 1/30/2013

The following is an “open letter” to the Washington State Department of Ecology, calling into question the policies as set out on their website in compliance with the United Nations Agenda 21 (Sustainable Development) and the UN Earth Charter.  Click here to see the Ecology “What is Sustainability?” page. (See screenshot here – What is Sustainability? in the event the Ecology website should ultimately remove the page.)

Department of Ecology PDA Request for Documents
Ms. Polly Zehm, Acting Director

State of Washington
Department of Ecology
P. O. Box 47600
Olympia, WA  98504-7600
Dear Ms. Zehm:
For several years, thousands of Washington State property owners have believed that the Department of Ecology (DOE) is operating outside the scope of its legal authority.  That suspicion not only arises out of the information that can be found on the DOE website, but on many of the actions taken by the DOE against property owners, especially rural landowners.  One of those areas was illustrated when the State Attorney General had to stop the DOE from enforcing reductions in the Supreme Court authorized 5,000 gallon per day withdrawal of well water for certain landowners. Continue reading

Open letter to DOE: Does Ecology exceed EPA requirements?

from Pearl Rains Hewett

Posted 1/30/2013

Clouded Waters: A Senate Report Exposing the High – U.S. Senate

 United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Minority Staff

Released: June 30, 2011

Contacts:

Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-9797

Katie Brown Katie_Brown@epw.senate.gov (202) 224-2160

Report Online at www.epw.senate.gov/inhofe

 

With this additional attached documentation, in its entirety
I am again, requesting the WA State DOE to respond to my questions.

DOE SMP GOES BEYOND EPA STANDARDS

Throughout the development of federal water laws it was the responsibility of states to achieve water quality,4 and many of them have continued to go above and beyond EPA’s minimum federal standards. Instead of acknowledging this progress and empowering it.

 

EPA NOT SCIENTIFIC FINDINGS (DOE not scientific)

These rulemakings are not the result of legislation or the outcome of scientific findings. Instead, these are the result of lawsuits by environmentalists and represent changes in long-held EPA positions, making discretionary duties non-discretionary. Additionally, in a rush to regulate, EPA/DOE  is moving ahead without solid science and with no input from the communities who will shoulder the costs.

Continue reading

Commentary: PUBLIC INFORMATION online and readily available to the public

Comment by Pearl Rains-Hewett

Posted 1/28/2013

 

I noted in the The Olympia Report by Jeff Rhodes Posted 1/15/2013, that “State and local governments continue to struggle with the need to balance transparency against the increasing costs of records requests, and according to authorities testifying Tuesday on both sides of the issue, there’s no easy answer.”

The I saw  “1/21/09 BARACK OBAMA SUBJECT:  Transparency and Open Government

Executive departments and agencies should harness new technologies to put information about their operations and decisions online and readily available to the public.”

The word transparency jumped off the page at me.

When (DOE) Ecology’s  Budget for 2011 was questioned? I looked for it online and I found it.
Where? On pages of 603-609 of the 704 page DOE report prepared by Marty Brown. Continue reading

Royal City farmer to appeal Ecology’s $20,000 erosion fine

 by MATTHEW WEAVER
Capital Press

Posted 1/25/2013

A Royal City, Wash., farmer plans to appeal a $20,000 fine from the Washington Department of Ecology for erosion.

The department alleges B&G Farms owner Mike Brown failed to prevent extreme erosion on his farmland, but the farm says a torrential rain storm caused the problem.

According to Ecology, a heavy storm in July 2012 sent a large amount of soil down a hill into Lower Crab Creek, smothering fish habitat and polluting the creek with mud.

“Too much sediment, dirt and mud, once it gets into water, it causes problems, therefore making it pollution,” said Brook Beeler, communications manager for Ecology. Continue reading

Ecology’s Q&A session in Sequim about water ‘rule’ leaves many unanswered questions

 

By Sue Forde
for Citizen Review Online

January 17, 2013 – Sequim, WA – Approximately 120 citizens attended a meeting sponsored by the Washington State Dept. of Ecology and elected and staff members of Clallam County to review and field questions about the new so-called “Dungeness Water Rule” which took effect on Jan. 2, 2013.  The meeting was held on Jan. 17, 2013 at the John Wayne Marina near Sequim, starting at 4 p.m.

DCD [Department of Community Development] Director Sheila Roark-Miller moderated the meeting, with Tom Shindler, permits center manager for the county, and several other county employees present.  Roark-Miller introduced Sally Toteff, Regional Director of the WA State Department of Ecology (DOE), who commented that the people who showed up tonight “shows that you’re ‘ready to soak up information’ about the water plan.”  Others from the agency were Bob Barwin, Mike Gallagher, regional supervisor, Ann Wessell, along with Amanda Cronin and Susan Adams, from the Washington Water Trust (WWT). Later, Anne Soule and Andy Brastad were introduced, who both work for the County.

Of special concern are the areas shown on the “water plan” map.  Depending on the designated area on the map, water use for new wells is being limited to indoor use only, or no water at all in some areas.  People drilling new wells will be required to pay a “mitigation fee”, starting at $1,000, plus pay to install a meter on their well, to be “allowed” to use up to 150 gallon per day (gpd) of water, indoors only.  Previously, a property owner fell under the “exempt well” status, where no such requirements existing.  The WA State Department of Ecology has been pressing for the water restrictions for almost 20 years, and the people have managed to hold it back – until now.  The slideshow presentation by the County can be seen here: County water rule presentation.

Barwin stated that the DOE will be funding the Washington Water Trust (WWT) to “negotiate and acquire water rights from the Dungeness Water Users [Sequim-Dungeness Agricultural Water Users Association]”, who will purchase easements and equipment with the monies they collect from new water users.  “For the ‘customers’ of this program, we’re trying to keep it simple,” he said. This “service”, he said, will determine whether a water use is a “new” use, subject to the new Rules, or not.

Cronin (WWT) said, “We went over the mitigation packages; there are 3 packages we’ll be offering right now – the prices are there in nice round numbers.”  She said “you need to record your mitigation certificate; it’s non-transferrable and will stay with the land.”  The mitigation certificates are available now for applicants with pending projects, she said.  There will also be a “mitigation option”, where a payment of 25% of the indoor mitigation can be paid.  That fee “could” be “partially” applied toward the final mitigation certificate, she stated.  The “option” would be good for year 2, 3 or 4, and a portion might be refundable, for example, $150, $100 or $50, depending on the number of years.  “There may be some price adjustment,” she said.

Tom Shindler said that the role of the permit center is an “ongoing relationship”. He added that the county would “go to Ecology for the complex questions”.  He reviewed the county website (www.clallam.net) as to where to seek information about the various layers of regulations on a piece of property.  “Every parcel is tagged on the map,” he said, “and we are going to add tags as certificates are issued.”

“We have a ‘product’ called ‘project review’ to outline the requirements on a property, Shindler stated.  The county planning department will “coordinate all the permit requirements”.  They will send the mitigation certificate request to Washington Water Trust, who in turn will review and then issue the certificate.  It is returned by email, and must then be signed, notarized and recorded.

“Don’t drill your well first; you may be in a Group A system”, Shindler said.  “We don’t know everything yet.”  Building permit requirements include road approach, drain ditch permit, critical areas review, septic permit, potable water availability (including quantity, quality and legality), and a water system or a well.

The question was raised by an audience member, “Who determines what is timely and reasonable?”  Shindler replied that a “year” is “timely.

He pointed out that the cost to connect to a water system is estimated to cost 1-1/2 to 2 times the cost of drilling a well.

Pearl Rains-Hewett of Port Angeles commented that our county is going to be doing all the work.   “It’s a money deal,” she said, adding, “Ecology sucks.”  The 71-year-old stated that the US Constitution is on her wall.  “Is Clallam County still in the U.S.?  Where are we living now?” she asked.  She talked about the problems on the Skagit River with Ecology.  “Has Ecology learned anything from the debacle in Skagit?” she wanted to know.

The DOE department director answered that the results with the Swinomish Tribe are still unknown.  Kittitas County needs to plan ahead to be sure people can develop their property “for your use and future generations”, he said. The State Supreme Court case is pending right now.

Karen Pritchard asked whether mitigation water is available now. “No” was the response.  “When might they be ready?” she wanted to know.  Cronin said the applications for indoor water should be available in “a week or two.” If in the “green” area on the map, mitigation projects with irrigation will “probably” will be selling outdoor packages in the summer, Barwin said.

Pritchard then asked, “After the salaries and monies are paid, where is the remainder of the money [collected from users] going?”

Cronin said they have to “move water” to the site; there is no “excess” money; it covers the cost for the “exchange.”

More questions were raised about the financial aspects of the WWT.  With the first 100 permits, what estimate of turnaround time, and what is the cost to the WWT?  Cronin responded that there is an “annual work plan”, a “local advisory board”, and “tax statements are available.”

Annie O’Roarke from the Builder’s Association asked whether there is “due process required”.  “How many packages can outdoor water purchase for a parcel – for example, 5 acres?”  “Just one per parcel,” Cronin responded, no matter what the size of the parcel.

“Do these packages apply to commercial projects?” one person asked.  Cronin said it “depends on the type of commercial business, domestic – industrial/manufacturing not covered.  The WWT will work on a case-by-case basis”, she continued. “There will be custom packages, which amounts only for indoor use.”

One person posed the question about the use of water if there are 8 foster children in a home, where definitely more than 150 gallons per day would be needed.  Shindler responsed that those packages are mitigation packages, “these numbers represent averages”; the program is “averaged out”, and that “not every person is limited to 150 gallons per day.”  He added that “adjustments may be made in the future – we’ll adjust over time if we need to.”

O’Roarke wanted a clarification: “So there is no personal ramification if a household is using 400 gallons per day?” she asked.  Shinder said, “If your use is consistent, a variation on the same question – you’re over 150, you’re fine.  If you ‘add’ a use – like a garden – that’s ‘not’ fine.”  He added that “Metering informs us, ‘are the averages correct’ – not for individual accountability.”

Mike McAleer said he is currently working with an engineer with a law degree.  He’s wanting a 5 acre parcel, and the property was in the ‘yellow’ area for a few days.  That means, no garden, no fruit trees, etc.  In the Bigfoot area.  Then the map line changed.  There is no county code to change the map – now it’s a different map.  What is the public process to change the mapping?

Roark-Miller said the process is in an advisory board or committee.  “We don’t have to change the code; it is passed down from the State – we have to implement it,” she said.

Shinder added that regarding the map issues, the county had to find out how DOE wanted it defined.  Their original map was from “old data”, it’s now been updated.

One person asked how the subsidized funding woks – is it ‘grant-driven”?  Where does the money go?

McEntire answered that it is event-driven; if more than 100 people want to start houses, the county will be asking the State legislature for additional funding.

Kaj Ahlburg asked how the amounts for mitigation fees were arrived at.  “How are  the amounts to be charged for mitigation arrived at?  At 10% consumptive use, $1,000 for 150  gpd of domestic mitigation corresponds to a cost of $43 million/cfs.  At 90% consumptive use, the additional  $1,000 for a 89 gpd Basic Outdoor mitigation package correspond to a cost of  $8.1 million/cfs for the additional water, and the additional $2,000 for a 200  gpd Extended Outdoor mitigation certificate correspond to a cost of $7.2  million/cfs for the additional water.  The midpoint of Bob Barwin’s estimate of the likely cost to Ecology of  mitigation water in WRIA 18 was about $1.2 million/cfs (or $1,700/acre  foot).  These are markups of between  500% and 3,400%.  Where is the extra  money going?”

Shinder said it’s hard to exactly say how – all the complexity – all the risk.  The buyers get the mitigation; Ecology takes the risks.  It’s not about putting water in a bucket several streams; anyone could have a problem – it covers operations for the long term.

Someone asked, “What about natural recharge?”  Shindler said that they were starting with the small lawn packages.

Ahlburg talked about the visibility to the public; time will tell whether that works out.  He wondered if there is a commitment after a certain amount of time to reassess, and whether the actual revenues and expenses would be available for the public to review.

Cronin stated, “Absolutely.  This is the lowest cost of mitigation in the State of Washington.”

Jeff Monroe of Quilcene asked whether the 150 gpd might be off by two or three times.  Shindler answered that “we’re talking about averages.  This is based on the data in Sequim.”

Someone said that there are a lot of people who don’t even know about this meeting.

Roark-Miller said “I hear your concern about the 150 gpd.”

Shindler said, “Our behind-the-scenes debiting is a program management problem – using the metering.”

Roark-Miller added that the market price may change, so the price for the mitigation certificate may change as well.

“Once you reassess, what’s your next move, now that you have your foot in the door?” one person wanted to know.  What is your flow currently?  What penalties for noncompliance?  Can you shut off people’s water?  Are there fines?

Barwin responded that “if you overuse – use up the mitigation program, cost will likely rise. We will look at the average use.” He added, “If you use 175 gpd, Ecology will not consider that a violation.”  A violation could result in fines up to $5,000 a day; and you could have your water ‘curtailed’, he said.

One person said, “Neighbors against neighbors?”

Dick Pilling said, “I’m always a little leery when government comes to ‘help’ me.  Can we use storage tanks to capture water?”

Roark-Miller responded, “With a building permit.”  There are restrictions on water caught and stored.

Christina Nelson-Gross asked about mitigation for final plats.  Under the subdivision code, she said, it is required that water is “available”.  She referenced the JZ Knight case.  According to RCW 58.17, water must be found at the time of approval.  Now we have to pay for mitigation.

Carol Johnson asked by what authority does the WWT act as the “water bank.”

Jim McEntire said the county had a grant from DOE during the water rule.

Barwin said the WWT has been in business for 12 years, and has been working with Ecology.

Johnson then asked how the WWT became the “water bank” throughout Washington State.  DOE is the authority which took on the WWT.  It’s in Walla Walla and here; are there other water banks across Washington?  How about Skagit?

The response was that Skagit does not have a water bank.

Johnson asked, “For outdoor water, what constitutes a change in use?  A lawn to a garden?  Horses to llamas?”

Barwin said “no.”

Roark-Miller said “If you have a home that you are watering when you sell, and the person who buys it wants to build a mother-in-law building or addition, that would be a change of use.”

“What science was used for the yellow part of the map?” asked one member of the audience.  “What value was assigned by DOE for the value of the property to go down?”

Shindler responsed that it was his “best professional judgment for the lines on the map”.  The science, he said, was “hydrology by modeling.”

“Are the lines on the map for all time?” queried one person.  Shindler responded, “No, just for this year.  We are working with other ‘partners’ to “expand the green areas”.

Barwin said the “numbers are not readily available.  The cost benefit analysis has to do with where “we think the growth will be.”

Rick Rose asked how DOE established mitigation requirements.  “What number was used for all the ‘exempt’ wells?, he queried.

Shindler said they didn’t look at existing wells.  They used the information from gages in the river. The mitigation program was built on 150 gpd and 10% consumption.  Irrigation, he said, is at 90% evaporation with a garden or a lawn.

The focus returned to the WWT.  Greg McCarry asked “What can the public do for oversight?”

Cronin responded that there is an “advisory council.”

McCarry pressed on.  “How do we see the books?  Are the meetings public?  Who’s on the advisory council?” he wanted to know.  “Can I accumulate the minutes I save in the winter for summer use?  We get roughly 9 minutes of watering time under the “Rule””.  You said earlier you are not going to enforce the amount of water used?  “Are we to take your word for that?”

Marguerite Glover said that Bob Barwin told us we could buy mitigation for the property.  Now tonight, we can’t.  “Why can’t we buy mitigation now?  Why are there so many things we don’t know about?  Why wasn’t this map [she held up a DOE water rule map] available?”

Shindler said, “The map was available.”  Glover then pointed out that a “different” map was available for the public to view at the public hearings than is now being used.

Shindler stated the change in the map was a “mistake.”

A woman asked “Why do we need a building permit for our well?  We just want to raise cattle on our property.”  Shindler told her she needs to go directly to the Water Exchange (WWT) for agricultural use.  “When you build, you’ll have to get another mitigation permit.”

“For agricultural use, what will it cost?” she asked.  “Can we even get it?”

Susan said it’s done on a case-by-case basis, and has no ballpark of the cost, if they even allow water usage.

Cherie Kidd wanted to know about Ecology’s enforcement action.  “Where can we view this information on the website?”  What protocols to monitor the Rule; can the Rule be abandoned, if so, what is the timeline?

Tom (DOE) answered that she can look at RCW 90.03.600 and 605 for information about enforcement.  “There are other scattered authorizations for enforcement,” he said.  He added that the Dungeness River Management Team would review the conditions and reconvene another group if there is a controversy about the set flow.  It’s currently set for 105 cfs flow; we’ll talk about a higher flow once we get there.

Mrs. Cameron asked why WWT is no longer working in Walla Walla.  The response from Ecoogy was that they were paid to run the bank for two years; it is being turned over to the county.

It was asked about the cost of the meter that will be required when any new “use” takes place. Tom responded that a meter runs around $250 plus the cost of installation.  The going rate is approximately $95 per hour for labor.

Tom Martin from PUD said the water rights will “run out in about five years”.  He wanted to know how future customers will work through the water exchange after the water rights run out.

Commissioner Jim McEntire has stated repeatedly that there is no water crisis on the North Olympic Peninsula.

You can access the State Department of Ecology’s website re: the water rule here: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/instream-flows/dungeness.html

See a list of questions raised by individuals which may or may not have been answered adequately by the DOE and county staff: WRIA 18 WATER EXCHANGE QUESTIONS

Stories by the Sequim Gazette about the watershed plan – click here

Previous stories about the watershed plan as posted in the Citizen Review Online – click here

The WA State Department of Ecology’s take on “Sustainable Development”

What IS Sustainable Development?  Watch this 20 minute video to see how it will affect YOU.

Clallam County has water; property owners are entitled to use of that water

from Pearl Rains-Hewett

Posted 1/23/2013

CLALLAM COUNTY HAS WATER

(a statement not a question)

The CLALLAM COUNTY property owners are entitled to the use of that water

(a statement not a question)

 

The WA State Appointed DOE [Department of Ecology] creates ALL WA State Water Rules.

Department of Ecology created the Skagit River Water Rule. Continue reading

Property owners air grievances with Growth Management Act

By Jeff Rhodes
The Olympia Report

January 21, 2013

Judging from the parade of witnesses testifying on Friday before the House Local Government Committee in Olympia, many Washington residents would dispute the Wikipedia definition of Washington state’s Growth Management Act.

According to the online encyclopedia, “Rather than centralize planning and decision-making at the state level, the GMA built on Washington’s strong traditions of local government control and regional diversity.

“The GMA,” the narrative explains, “established state goals, set deadlines for compliance, offered direction on how to prepare local comprehensive plans and regulations and set forth requirements for early and continuous public participation. Within the framework provided by the mandates of the Act, local governments have many choices regarding the specific content of comprehensive plans and implementing development regulations.”

In the view of those speaking at Friday’s hearing, however, the impetus of the GMA is anything but local.

“If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, the GMA is a freeway,” said Glen Morgan, property rights manager for the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation. “I would recommend repeal of the GMA and sending decisions on land-use policy back to the local level, where they belong.” Continue reading

The Public Trust Doctrine & the Dept. of Ecology

We are regulating ourselves to death.  The DoE’s current SMA/SMP (Shoreline Management Act / Shoreline Management “Plan”) Update plan has very little benefit for our future and does great harm.
We need to preserve every option for beneficial use of our natural resources that we can. There does need to be balance.  We cannot turn back the clock and undo some of the past harmful transgression of the past and shouldn’t try. Redundancy of protections does great harm. 
Karl Spees
This is a good opportunity to learn about the concept of the ‘public trust doctrine’.
******************************************************************************************

AQUACULTURE Comment on SMP
DNR taking and/or leasing of Public land
from Pearl Rains Hewett
Member SMP Committee
In response to Mary and Sheila’s comments of concern of WA State DNR taking and/or leasing of a public resource, waters of the state for aquaculture, that may deny fishing, recreation and similar uses of shorelines to all citizens of the state.
THE PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE should be sited in the Clallam County SMP to prevent the WA State DNR taking and/or leasing of a public resource, waters of the state for aquaculture, that may deny fishing, recreation and similar uses of Clallam County shorelines to all citizens of the state. Continue reading

Water “rule” restricts water use; thousands of acres affected

by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette

from Jan. 9, 2013

Sequim, WA – The new Dungeness Water Rule, in place since Jan. 2, leaves a lot of Clallam landowners high and dry.

All landowners who hope to drill a well within the affected area will be able to secure the right to indoor water. However, new uses of outdoor water will be denied to hundreds of lots covering thousands of acres.

 

Though the eligibility of each lot owner to purchase outdoor water rights will be determined on a case-by-case basis, a draft map earlier produced by the Department of Ecology provides a rough estimate of where outdoor water will and won’t be available.

 

Outdoor water will be available in virtually all areas now served by the irrigation districts. Clallam County PUD provides water in areas west and east of Sequim. Continue reading

Ranchers expect new water quality regulations soon

By MATTHEW WEAVER
Capital Press

Posted 1/5/2013

Washington state ranchers expect the state Department of Ecology to propose new water quality regulations soon.

“It’s imminently close,” said Jack Field, executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, noting that the proposal could come before the state legislative session begins Jan. 14.

A Washington Department of Ecology spokesperson declined to comment on specifics of the proposal.

“We have not nailed it down and it would be unfair to talk about something that was not going to be viable,” said Ecology water quality program spokesperson Sandy Howard. Continue reading

Washington tribes develop own wolf plans

By MATTHEW WEAVER
Capital Press

 

Posted 12/27/2012

 

Two Native American tribes in eastern Washington are moving ahead with plans to manage wolves on their reservations.

The Spokane Tribe of Indians is proceeding with an internal review of a proposed wolf management plan, said B.J. Kieffer, director of natural resources for the tribe in Wellpinit, Wash. The plan will be submitted to the tribal business council.

He declined to discuss the plan while it is under review.

A member of the tribe “incidentally” killed an 87-pound male gray wolf on Dec. 10, he said.

Kieffer said he is not sure how the wolf was killed. Continue reading

New Cattle Producers of Washington leader: Bureaucrats, leave ranchers alone

By MATTHEW WEAVER
Capital Press

Posted 12/24/2012

The new president of the Cattle Producers of Washington says the industry’s biggest need is to be left alone by bureaucrats.

“We can take care of ourselves if they let us,” Dave Dashiell said. “You read back in history and we’re still fighting the same battles they were a hundred years ago. They might have a few different words, but they’re just about the same thing. You can never give up or relax too much, because it just keeps popping up. You’ve got to be on the ball all the time.” Continue reading

Clallam County “Outdoor” Water Use – Limited or Forbidden by WA State Dept. of Ecology

by Sue Forde for
Citizen Review Online

Posted 12/26/2012

Clallam County, WA – Now that the Washington State Department of Ecology’s (DOE’s) water “rule” is in effect, those people living in the rural areas or who hope to have a garden or animals, may be out of luck.  At the very least, their water supply will be extremely limited and require a “mitigation” fee to even be able to use it.  In addition, there will be an added expense of placing a water “meter” on their wells.

 

What impacts the new “rule” will have on the rural areas of Clallam County remains to be seen; however, if one considers that it may become unaffordable or even “forbidden” to start a garden or acquire horses, goats, sheep, cows or chickens – any living animal or fowl that might need to get a drink of water, it will definitely have an adverse and costly one.

 

All in the name of saving the “river” and the “fish”, almost 20 years of pushing forward despite large numbers of people who actually live on the Olympic Peninsula showing up at meeting after meeting held by DOE, who – when confronted – each time assured the public they did not intend to “meter the wells”.  Wells drillers, biologists and other experts testified time and again that wells do not make a significant difference in the water levels of the river.  Or, as the DOE puts in (on their website – https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/SummaryPages/1211052.html), by Lynne Geller, “The rule comes out of many years of working with the community, tribes, and local and state governments. It includes many recommendations from the 2005 Elwha-Dungeness Watershed Plan, which obligated Ecology to adopt a water management rule.” Continue reading

Kittitas County: DOE Water Proposal could hurt financially – Would shift 71,000 acres of land to ‘public’ ownership

By JUSTIN PITTMAN staff writer 
Daily Record 

Posted 12/15/2012

Kittitas County, WA – A county study released this week says that part of the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan aimed at protecting and enhancing watersheds would have negative financial impacts on Kittitas County.

The Yakima Basin plan aims to enhance water supplies and ecosystems in the Yakima River Basin through measures like habitat and fisheries improvements, expanded reservoir storage and conservation. The plan would include improvements in Yakima, Benton and Kittitas counties and could cost an estimated $5 billion to fully implement. Continue reading

New “Water ‘Management’ Rule” by WA State Dept. of Ecology a “travesty”

Public comment for the Local Leaders’ Water Group Meeting
by Marguerite Glover

Posted 12/12/2012

Sequim, WA  – Here is my public comment for the Local Leaders’ Water Group Meeting on the 12th of December. I plan on being there; but, I may have to leave early. I also want to submit my comments about Casselary Creek, separately. Thank you.

It irritates and frustrates me that the main purpose of today’s meeting is to congratulate the Local Leaders and others, for putting into place the Dungeness Water Management Rule.

This Rule penalizes rural landowners who do, or who will, draw water from a well. Not all of th­ose wells capture water that would go to a stream or the River–whether in Summer, or at another time of the year. Many of these rural landowners have small farms that feed them, and/or bring fruits and vegetables to local farmers’ markets. Continue reading

Water testing by agency questioned in State Dept. of Ecology’s case against rancher

By Steve Brown
Capital Press

Posted 12/6/2012

Washington State – Rancher Joe Lemire questions whether inspectors from the Washington Department of Ecology got valid readings from Pataha Creek before accusing him of polluting state waters.

In 2009, the state Pollution Control Hearings Board ordered Lemire to avoid the risk of pollution from his 29 head of cattle. After a Superior Court judge dismissed the order, the hearings board and Ecology appealed the case to the state Supreme Court.

Laura Watson, a lawyer from the state attorney general’s office representing Ecology, told the Supreme Court justices that Ecology’s action was in response to fecal coliform samples taken from the seasonal creek downstream from Lemire’s property. Continue reading

Growers weigh canal spending – Odessa water project could cost up to $17,000 per acre

By Matthew Weaver
Capital Press

Nov. 8, 2012

MOSES LAKE, Wash. — Irrigators in the Odessa subarea will ultimately pay most of the cost of replacing well water with water from the Columbia River, a state official says.

Derek Sandison, director of Washington Department of Ecology Office of the Columbia River, said the cost of the project is roughly $730 million. The department will request $36 million from the state Legislature for canal improvements, but the bulk of the cost will likely fall to landowners, he said. Continue reading

Water study raises issues – Researchers find no proof conservation reduces pollution

By Sean Ellis
Capital Press

Posted 12/4/2012
(Originally published on 11/8/2012)

A U.S Geological Survey study found no consistently detectable reductions in nutrient pollution in streams across the country as a result of conservation practices.

The study analyzed 133 large agricultural watersheds around the country and found no significant improvements in water quality resulting from common conservation practices designed to reduce soil runoff and nutrient loss.

The study assessed the watersheds in relationship with conservation tillage and the Conservation Reserve Program, which are both designed to reduce soil runoff and nutrient loss from farmland.

“When you look at it on a large watershed scale, we clearly are not seeing the effects of conservation practices yet,” said Lori Sprague, the lead author of the study, which was recently published in the Journal of Environmental Quality. Continue reading

Commentary: Part 2 – Our Collective Elected Government in Action

Commentary by Pearl Rains-Hewett

Posted 12/4/2012

 

Sequim, WA – I did attend the Dec. 3,  2012 meeting of the  Sequim City Council Members, the Clallam County PUD, and the Clallam County Commissioners. the Carlsborg Project and they did talk about the “Dungeness Water Rule”.

NO PUBLIC COMMENTS OR QUESTIONS WERE ALLOWED.

Take a step back, and picture this meeting from a outsider’s prospective. Continue reading

Dungeness Water Rule: Working the numbers

by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette

Posted 12/1/2012

Clallam County, WA – Clallam County Commissioner Jim McEntire says the county is at “the beginning of the end” in putting into place the new Dungeness Water Rule.

 

He added that he hopes that when the discussions are done, there will be funding available for as many as 20 years’ worth of indoor domestic water use.

 

The rule, which has been percolating for more than 20 years, was signed by Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant in mid-November and will become effective Jan. 2, 2013. Continue reading

Washington Dept. of Ecology restricts water use in Sequim area

Seattle Times

November 26, 2012

It’s hard to imagine a fight over water in western Washington, a region that typically evokes images of rain gear and umbrellas.

 

Olympic Peninsula, WA – It’s hard to imagine a fight over water in western Washington, a region that typically evokes images of rain gear and umbrellas.

But in the rural Dungeness Valley on the Olympic Peninsula, known for its lavender fields and namesake crabs, the debate has been fierce over how much water land owners, irrigators, Native American tribes and others can use while still keeping enough in streams for threatened fish. Continue reading

Bring on the “wetlands” – West Nile virus continues to rise

2012 West Nile virus update: November 20

Pearl Rains-Hewett

Posted 11/27/2012

As of November 20, 2012, 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 5,207 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 234 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,643 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,564 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. Continue reading

Dungeness Water Rule: Signed, sealed, almost delivered

by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette

Posted 11/21/2012

Clallam County, WA – After more than 20 years of work by his agency, Washington Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant this week signed the new Dungeness Water Management Rule. The rule is designed to enhance flows in area streams while protecting the interests of senior water rights holders.

The rule will become effective on Jan. 2, 2013. Continue reading

State Supreme Court deciding whether salmon or property owners get water

By ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

Hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people could have their water shut off by the state Supreme Court. A case before the court pits the Swinomish Indian Tribe against homeowners in a clash of two ways of life.

Zach Barborinas bought a lot in rural Stanwood in part because of the beautiful water views of North Puget Sound, but now all he sees is a dried up dream.

“I have a development, a plat that’s approved by Snohomish County,” he says. “I thought I was pretty safe.” Continue reading

Two counties – same problem – water and land use regulations

from Pearl Rains-Hewett
Posted 11/18/2012
WHAT HAVE OUR COUNTY’S GOT IN COMMON?
OUR TIMBER INDUSTRIES AND,

How Water and Land Use Regulations and Litigation Are Destroying Us

“The hand writing on the wall” is an idiom for “imminent doom or misfortune” and for “the future is predetermined”.

CLALLAM COUNTY
Timber harvesting is the dominant land use in the County with 285,842 acres in large commercial timber holdings. Widespread timber harvesting in the area began in the 1920’s and continued intensively through the 1980’s, when the rate slowed significantly due in part to federal listings of the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet.
At one time, it was the largest timber production area in the state.
However, our forest industries have been devastated by Federal and State regulations.
How many sawmills and wood processing facilities are gone?
There is no doubt that the restrictions on timber harvest from public lands under the Northwest Forest Plan have played a significant role in this decline.
Eighty- one % (81%) of the land base in Clallam County proper is in Federal (or state) ownership.
Olympic National Forest Is over 1 millions acres.
There are more than ? miles of wild and scenic rivers in Clallam County.
What is the unemployment rate? 9.1% of the labor force Sep 2012
One aspect of this is land conversion from private to Federal lands.
acquisition or conservation easements Continue reading

Dungeness Water Rule Signed by the Ecology Director

Comment by Marguerite Glover:

There are a few new details in the article. Ecology, thanks to discussions with Senator Hargrove and Commissioner McEntire, will be providing up to $1,000 per building permit, for mitigation, through June 30, 2013. After that, it is hoped that the Legislature will provide the funds. These are intended for the inside (domestic) water use, which I understand will be spelled out in the Rule, which will be published on Tuesday. I am not sure, but I believe that Ecology providing funds for private usage is unprecedented. However, it is water mitigation money, which should help the Dungeness Watershed, as a whole. The money will go into the Water Exchange, to buy water, for future mitigation. Here’s the article: http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20121118/news/311189978/controversial-dungeness-water-rule-signed-by-ecology-director-near

The link to the Ecology’s Dungeness Water Management Page is http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/instream-flows/dungeness.html
I imagine that there will also be a bullet on Ecology’s main page, www.ecy.wa.gov once the Rule is posted on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012.

PDN Story follows:

 

Dungeness Water Rule Signed by the Ecology Director

 

By Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News

 

SEQUIM — A controversial new state rule to manage water use, including individual wells, in the Dungeness River watershed will go into effect Jan. 2.

State Department of Ecology Director Ted Sturdevant signed it Friday.

The final rule, which must be certified by the state Office of the Code Reviser before it is released to the public, is expected to be available to view Tuesday, said Dan Partridge, Ecology spokesman.
Continue reading

Dungeness Rule due in late November

by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette
Posted 11/18/2012

The Washington Department of Ecology has announced it plans to formally adopt the new Dungeness Water Management Rule in the second half of November, but questions continue to arise.

 

This week the agency released internal e-mails that include a statement that the rule isn’t subject to Washington’s Administrative Procedures Act. That means the rule isn’t subject to laws that require a cost-benefit analysis that shows the rule’s benefits outweigh the costs. Continue reading

Final Dungeness water rule to be signed Friday

November 16th, 2012 – 11:19am

KONP

(Port Angeles) — The state Department of Ecology will sign a controversial water rule for the Dungeness Valley today.

But the public won’t get a chance to see exactly what the final rule looks like until next week.

Clallam County officials were contacted earlier this week by DOE officials indicating the final rule will be signed, but even the county won’t get to see it for three days. DOE rules say the agency must wait three days before it is opened to the public. The day before Thanksgiving will mark the public unveiling of the rule.

County commissioner Mike Chapman says there are still a lot of questions the county has on the final rule.

The county will still have to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the state for implementing the rule since many of the tasks, such as building permits, fall under the county’s jurisdiction.

It’s not known yet if the rule will contain specific language that would set up a different method of mitigation for new well water users in the Sequim area. DOE and county officials came to an agreement in principle on the change earlier this year. The rule has been more than a decade in the making and is intended to deal with what some experts say is declining water supplies in the Dungeness Valley and protecting salmon runs.

6000 farmers and rural landowners DENIED WATER in the CLOSED Skagit River watershed

From Pearl Rains-Hewett

Posted 11/6/2012

THE WA STATE DEPT OF ECOLOGY HAS DONE THIS IN SKAGIT COUNTY

This video is about the atrocities happening to the 6000 farmers and rural landowners DENIED WATER in the CLOSED Skagit River watershed.

One couple on this “JUST WATER Alliance Video has owned and paid taxes on their retirement property in Skagit County for 25 years.

They were DENIED a building permit because they were DENIED WATER.

Pearl Rains Hewett Continue reading

Response to questions on Dungeness water management

Posted 11/6/2012

The following is correspondence between Sequim Realtor and property owner Marguerite Glover, who has been active in the water issues surrounding Clallam County, WA, and elected representatives and the unelected, unaccountable state Department of Ecology. The proposed “water rule” will cut out much in the way of outdoor water usage, and limit indoor water use.  “Mitigation credits” can be purchased to obtain more water – from a private company.  Be sure to read this article – this is currently happening in Clallam County, WA, but it’s bound to be happening all across Washington State – and has already adversely affected several other counties.  For our readers in other states, let us know if this is happening in your area…  Editor.

_____________________________________________________ Continue reading

Farm Bureau challenges county’s new Critical Areas Ordinance

Posted 10/30/2012

by Steve Brown
Capital Press

The state and county Farm Bureaus have appealed the updated Critical Areas Ordinance filed by the Thurston County Commission, claiming it doesn’t abide by the state’s rules.

John Stuhlmiller, director of government relations at the Washington Farm Bureau, said the state’s Voluntary Stewardship Program includes the commitment “to make no changes as it relates to agriculture.”

But the Thurston County Farm Bureau claims the county government did just that when it split farming into “existing” and “new” and then applied different rules to each. It also failed to define what “change of use” is.

Every county in Washington that agreed to participate in the stewardship program committed to involving farmers and other landowners in updating its Critical Areas Ordinance. The ordinance addresses issues including agriculture, wetlands and aquifers, preserving and protecting land from urban impacts. Continue reading

Eight Tribes go after DOE Water Rules Amendment

Commentary by Pearl Rains-Hewett

Posted 10/28/2012

EIGHT TRIBES GO AFTER DOE WATER RULES AMENDMENT

 

WA State Supreme Court

No. 87672

Oct, 11, 2012

 

Swinomish Amicus

v.

WA State Dept. of Ecology

 

 

(8) Tribes (WWUC) Washington Water Utilities Council

 

Swinomish, Nooksack, Lummi, Squaxin Island, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Jamestown S’Klallam, Tulalip, Lower Elwha Klallam, Puyallup.

 

 

Eight tribes want the WA State Supreme Court to GRANT WA State Dept. of Ecology

the authority to amend its rules (WAC’S) and set the instream flow FOR TRIBES.

 

This short 23 page document is available on line.

 

 

JustWaterAlliance.org

Published on Oct 1, 2012 by jeremy smith

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMdVUk-ApqA

Learn the Truth about Water Rights in the Skagit River Watershed Continue reading

Dungeness Water Rule debate continues

Published on Wed, Sep 12, 2012
by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette
With the deadline for approval approaching, the Washington Department of Ecology is still hard at work on the new Dungeness Water Management Rule. Agency Director Ted Sturdevant says they have a lot of important work left to do.

 

The agency had hoped to adopt the rule formally this month, but with 940 public comments on the rule that require responses, and a few very important questions to answer, agency officials have been required to rethink that deadline.

Continue reading

Realtors want revisions to water rule

Published on Wed, Aug 29, 2012

by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Sequim Gazette

 

Peninsula Realtors aren’t taking the Dungeness Water Rule lying down.

 

The rule, proposed by the Department of Ecology in May, will likely be adopted this fall. The rule will require those who drill a well in Water Resource Inventory Area 18 (WRIA 18) to pay to mitigate for their water use. WRIA 18 includes much of rural eastern Clallam County.

Ecology officials say the rule won’t hurt property values. Some Realtors say it already has.

 

Bill Clarke, public policy director for the Washington Realtors Association, said Job No. 1 is ensuring the rule is revised to provide for a bulk purchase of water rights by the state, a move he said would greatly alleviate both the costs and the bureaucratic efforts that will otherwise be borne by individuals throughout the area.Clarke also took swipes at the rule’s underlying legal theories, noting first that Ecology is incorrect when it says it must adopt “instream flows” for the Dungeness River and a number of additional streams in the valley. Instream flows are defined as the amount of water that is required to ensure the health of the river and the various natural and human resources that depend upon the flow.

READ MORE AT THE SEQUIM GAZETTE>>>

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