July 2021
Washington Water Watch
Introducing Maggie Franquemont
We are excited to introduce CELP's new Staff Attorney, Maggie Franquemont.

Maggie has been passionate about water conservation since she was a small child growing up on Colorado’s Front Range. She took a circuitous path to Washington through Montana, Wyoming, and Oregon earning her B.S. in Land Rehabilitation from Montana State University, working for Yellowstone and Mount Rainier National Parks, and earning her J.D. from University of Oregon along the way. Maggie has focused her legal career on Environmental & Natural Resource Law as well as Ocean & Coastal Law. She is passionate about everything water and is thrilled to be working with CELP to protect Washington’s water resources. She is an avid skier, paddler, and rock climber and also spends time backpacking, painting, and sewing. Her favorite river in Washington is whichever one she is headed to next, and her favorite dinosaur is the Stegosaurus.  

You can contact Maggie at MFranquemont@Celp.org.
Spokane River PCB Update
News release July 6, 2021

Federal judge asked to compel cleanup of cancer-causing chemicals in Spokane River
Lawsuit filed 10 years ago has not moved government to protect river, community

Spokane – River advocates are asking a federal judge to rule on their 10-year-old lawsuit to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a cleanup plan for one of Washington State’s most polluted rivers. The Spokane River is heavily polluted with PCBs. The lawsuit began in July 2011, when river advocates notified EPA of their intent to sue on behalf of the river unless EPA complied with federal law. In 2015, a federal judge ordered EPA to come up with a schedule for a cleanup plan. EPA has yet to write a cleanup plan for the Spokane River.

“The days of using the Spokane River as a chemical dump are over,” said Tom Soeldner of the Spokane River Team. “Year after year we waited patiently. Now we are asking the federal courts to stop polluters from flushing PCBs into the River.”
Drought Emergency
Wednesday, July 14th, a drought emergency was declared. The only areas excluded from the drought emergency are Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett metropolitan areas. These areas were excluded because the reservoirs they rely on are expected to have enough water for residential and commercial use through the summer while maintaining adequate water levels.

A formal drought declaration authorizes Ecology to take certain measures for the purpose of providing emergency drought relief:
  • Expedite processing for emergency drought permits
  • Process temporary transfers of water rights
  • Provide funding assistance for public entities
  • Hold public education workshops

CELP’s Statement on Drought Emergency

We all rely on our water resources, and we need to be doing more to protect them. Conservation on an individual level is great and there are many things you can do to reduce your water use and be water wise. But it is not enough.
Water conservation needs to occur on a larger scale to protect our rivers. The Washington Department of Ecology has the authority to require conservation. When emergency water permits are granted due to drought emergencies, they should include conservation and water use efficiency requirements. We all need to work to protect our water resources and adapt to our conditions, especially during drought. Now is the time to come together and have conversations about how we are going to protect our waters for us all.
Regardless of whether Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett metropolitan areas are the exception to the drought emergency, we should all incorporate water conservation into our individual, family, and business practices. Our waters are in trouble putting our salmon, wildlife, communities, farms, economy, and way of life in danger. We need to work towards increasing conservation efforts in our cities, regions, and state. 
CELP is working on outreach around water and drought issues and partnering with others to increase conservation efforts and education. We will continue working to incorporate conservation and water use efficiency requirements into water policies, management, and legislation.
Water Conservation
There are many things you can do to practice water conservation. Please use your water wisely. Our rivers and salmon need any water we can conserve.

  • Water only when needed. Look at the grass, feel the soil, or use a soil moisture meter to determine when to water.
  • Do not over-water. Water needs vary greatly by season, grass species and amount of shade, so keeping the same settings year-round will result in over-watering.
  • Water lawns early in the morning during the hotter summer months.
  • To avoid excessive evaporation, use a sprinkler that produces large drops of water, rather than a fine mist. Sprinklers that send droplets out on a low angle also help control evaporation.
  • Plant native plants and use low-water landscaping to use less water
  • Use woodchips instead of grass- or as mulch to help keep plants cooler
  • Test toilets for leaks. Add a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet to the water in the tank, but do not flush the toilet. Watch to see if the coloring appears in the bowl with a few minutes. If it does, the toilet has a silent leak that needs to be repaired.
  • Do not let the water run when washing hands. Water should be turned off while washing and scrubbing and be turned on again to rinse.
  • Install a low-flow shower head that limits the flow from the shower to less than 3 gallons per minute.
  • Turn off water when you brush your teeth
  • Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running water from the tap until it is cool is wasteful.
  • Scrape the dishes clean instead of rinsing them before washing. There is no need to rinse unless they are heavily soiled.
  • Never run the dishwasher without a full load. This practice will save water, energy, detergent and money.
  • Wash only a full load when using an automatic washing machine (32-59 gallons are required per load).
  • Whenever possible, use the lowest water-level setting for light or partial loads.
  • Use cold water as often as possible to save energy and to conserve the hot water for uses that cold water cannot serve. (This is also better for clothing made of today’s synthetic fabrics.)

You can also talk to your neighbors, friends, city officials, representatives, and legislators about the importance of water conservation. Water conservation helps protect our rivers and water resources and in turn our wildlife and communities.
Dire Drought in the West
A Drought So Dire That a Utah Town Pulled the Plug on Growth

Groundwater and streams vital to both farmers and cities are drying up in the West, challenging the future of development. Some of the last homes currently being built in Oakley, Utah. The town has cut off new development because it doesn't have...

Read more
More needs to be done on a larger scale to prepare for drought and conserve water. Implementing water efficiency and conservation requirements would be a good starting point. Water is a finite resource and our waters are in trouble. We can look at California, Colorado, Utah, and other areas as a warning to be better prepared and protect our water resources. Our state needs to be taking more action. Water issues are urgent.
Tribute to Jan Sharar
Jan Sharar, 70, passed away unexpectedly in Ellensburg last week. Jan was an instrumental figure in the 2011 Supreme Court Kittitas Decision which is the current foundation for addressing rural sprawl and protecting water resources in the state. Jan’s background as a Land Use Planner and her willingness to be a whistleblower in a rural area is a testament to her bravery. Jan was a co-founder of the Kittitas County Conservation Coalition. KCCC, formed in 2006, brought together a wide variety of citizens concerned about wild growth in the mid-2000s. Together with Futurewise, KCCC worked tirelessly to implement GMA protections in Kittitas County. In 2007, Jan helped co-found Aqua Permanente, a water watch-dog group active in the Kittitas Decision and beyond. Jan was one of those rare people that could focus on the details yet never lose sight of the overall picture. Jan was kind, fun and dedicated. She will be missed.

Jan was a CELP supporter for over a decade. She was a fierce advocate for protecting our water resources and had a great impact. We will miss her greatly.
Water & Fish News
  • Closure alert: Due to extreme fire danger, all recreation and public access to DNR-managed lands in eastern Washington will be temporarily closed starting July 23, 2021, and lasting until fire conditions improve. Learn more.
  • July 6th a state of emergency was declared due to growing risk of wildfires and included a state-wide prohibition on most outdoor and agricultural burning. Read more.
  • Wildfire Mapping
  • Latinos are twice as likely to live in areas most threatened by wildfires relative to the overall U.S. population. Read more
A rainbow encircles splashing water as it is released from Diablo Dam on the Skagit River.
  • Sauk-Suiattle sue Seattle City Light. Read more.
  • Upper Skagit Indian Tribe asks for study to remove Gorge Dam. Read more.
  • FERC approves 32 studies for Skagit dam relicensing. Read more.
  • Hot Water Report for Snake River and Columbia River. Read more.
Image of city skyline with smoky sky and red sun.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is preparing the most comprehensive assessment on the state of global heating since 2013. Read more.
  • Is climate change happening faster than expected? A climate scientist explains. Read more.
Celebrate Water
Every year we host Celebrate Waters to honor a local water hero, celebrate successes for our waters, and raise funds to continue our important work protecting, preserving, and restoring Washington’s water resources.

We are thrilled to once again host Celebrate Water at Ivar's Salmon House in Seattle on September 9th. We cannot wait to gather with you in person. We will present the Ralph W. Johnson Water Hero Award for exemplary service on behalf of Washington’s waters and people to retired tribal attorneys, Sharon Haensly and Kimberly Ordon, to honor their careers protecting natural resources and tribal interests. We will also be hosting a pre-reception Continuing Legal Education (CLE) workshop on water issues.

Read more about our honorees and event here.

When: Thursday, September 9th, 2021
Pre-Reception CLE: 4:00 pm- 5:00 pm
Reception: 5:30 pm- 7:30 pm

Reception & CLE: $80
Reception Only: $55
CLE Only: $35
Thank you to our sponsors! You help make our event and our work protecting waters possible.
Law Office of M. Patrick Williams

Rachael & John Osborn
If you would like to sponsor Celebrate Water please reach out to Kayla Magers at development@celp.org
8th Annual One River, Ethics Matter Conference
The 8th annual One River Ethics Matter conference will focus on the Indigenous-led work of kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ – restoring ntytyix (salmon) to the Okanagan and Upper Columbia rivers.

Hosted by the Okanagan Nation Alliance and The University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus.

When: November 17-18, 2021
Where: Virtual on Zoom
85 S Washington St #301,
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 829-8299
Thanks for taking the time to read Washington Water Watch! With your help, CELP has accomplished many victories, yet more work remains to be done. You can support our work by making a donation online here, or mailing a check to: 85 S. Washington St #301 Seattle, WA 98104.