March 2021
Washington Water Watch
Clean & Abundant Water Lobby Week
Screen shot photo of a zoom meeting with Senator Van De Wege for Water Lobby week
Clean & Abundant Water lobby week was a success! We were able to adapt to a virtual legislative session and meet with legislators over Zoom. With our partners and volunteer constituents, we met with 10 legislators and/or legislative aides.

CELP along with Twin Harbors Waterkeeper and a group of constituents met with Senator Van De Wege (24th), Representative Chapman (24th), and Representative McEntire (19th).

There were also over 670 people reaching out to their lawmakers via email and engaging virtually for Clean & Abundant Water lobby week.

See an update on our lobby week priority bills below.

Thank you RE Sources, North Sound Baykeeper, Twin Harbors Waterkeeper, Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team, Spokane Riverkeeper, and all of our waterkeeper partners in making sure Clean & Abundant Water Lobby Day/Week took place for the third year.
Legislative Session & Bill Update
Photo of the Washington state Capitol building with blue sky.
The 2021 legislative session convened on January 11th and adjourns on April 25th. You can see the session cutoff calendar here. We had a great Clean & Abundant Water lobby week. CELP is still following bills and advocating to protect our waters. We were also able to stop a few bad water bills this session. We are thankful to our Government Affairs Specialist, Bruce Wishart, and all his work this legislative session.

Lobby Week Bills:

SB 5092 / HB 1094- Funding for Nooksack River basin Adjudication
CELP position: Support
Status: Mar 29 Scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means at 1:30 PM. Mar 29 Scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Appropriations at 1:30 PM.

SSB 5022- Reducing Plastic Pollution and Improving Recycling
CELP position: Support
Status: PASSED the Senate. In the House: Mar 25 Referred to Appropriations.

SB 5145- Preventing incredibly damaging seabed mining
CELP position: Support
Status: PASSED the Senate. In the House: Mar 25 Referred to Rules 2 Review.

HB 1184- Water Re-use
CELP position: Support
Status: PASSED the House. In the Senate: Mar 19 Passed to Rules Committee for second reading.

Other Bills & CELP's Positions:

HB 1117- Promoting salmon recovery through revisions to the state's comprehensive planning framework.
CELP position: Neutral
Status: PASSED the House. In the Senate: Mar 31 Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means at 1:30 PM in anticipation of other legislative action.

HB 1372- Replacing the Marcus Whitman statue in the national statuary hall collection with a statue of Billy Frank Jr.
CELP Position: Support
Status: PASSED the House. In the Senate: Mar 26 Placed on second reading by Rules Committee.
Nooksack River Basin & Adjudication
The Nooksack Indian Tribe and Lummi Nation support adjudication of the Nooksack River Basin and created a project, Salmon Need Water, to educate the public on water, salmon, and the adjudication process with the hope to inspire action. They hosted a webinar with the Department of Ecology to explain adjudication and why it is needed in the Nooksack. You can watch it here.

“Water in the Nooksack basin is a limited resource and will only become more so with the increasing demands of a growing human population and the impacts of climate change.” – Lawrence Solomon, Chairman, Lummi Nation

“We are working hard to protect the water that salmon need – not just for ourselves, but for our kids, our grandkids, and for future generations.”– Ross Cline, Sr., Chairman, Nooksack Tribe
CELP's Letter concerning Crown Columbia
CELP wrote a letter to the Washington Department of Ecology with concerns over Crown Columbia Water Resources, LLC (“Crown”)’s unprecedented application (No. S4-33625) for a water right that appears to be intended to allow new diversions of water almost anywhere in the Columbia Basin. An area-wide permit of this type has, to CELP’s knowledge, never been approved or implemented in Washington. It would be an entirely new type of water appropriation program and raises serious legal and policy questions. We believe that approving such a permit would be unlawful, and have grave concerns about the process that is being followed.
Water & Fish News
We all rely on water for drinking, food, and sanitation, but our freshwater resources are in trouble. Globally, only one-third of large rivers remain free-flowing (unimpaired by dams or disrupted by humans). Wetlands are being degraded at three times the rate of forests and have declined by 70% since 1990. Over 80 freshwater fish species have gone extinct in the last 16 years and almost a third of freshwater fish species are now threatened with extinction.
Historically, this crisis and freshwater ecosystems have received less attention than other environmental issues. “We have to get away from thinking about land first and rivers second,” says John Zablocki, a biodiversity expert with the Nature Conservancy.
The tide seems to be shifting with freshwater issues getting more attention and focus in the larger conservation agenda. Is it enough?

"A recent study, with its roots going back to 2004, has showed promising news that Elwha River steelhead trapped for a century miles from the Strait of Juan de Fuca by the Elwha River dams have managed to maintain their natural genetic diversity during that time and are able to return to their old natural cycle of returning to the sea."

"It’s the second naturally spawned chinook alevin found in this stretch of dam-blocked river in more than 100 years, proving yet again that salmon can survive in the Upper Columbia River system."
Member Appreciation
We want to give a big thank you to all of our members for their support. We understand these continue to be difficult times and we are immensely grateful for the support of our community.

Members are CELP’s backbone. When CELP works with governments, business, and special interest groups on water issues in Washington, we speak on behalf of our members. The more members we have, the more we are heard.
A photo of two otters hugging. CELO logo in the corner with the words "We appreciate you!"
CELP membership is a $50 donation or more a year. As a CELP member, you are eligible to attend our Continuing Legal Education programs at a discounted rate. You also receive our free Washington Water Watch Newsletter, invitations to member-only events, and a CELP sticker that you can proudly display. Thank you for your dedication to protecting the health and vitality of Washington’s rivers and streams. You make our work possible!

If you would like to renew your membership you can make a $50 donation or more on our secure website here.

Our work throughout 2021 to educate, advocate, and litigate to protect Washington’s waterways depends on you. Thank you for your support!
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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.