Washington Water Watch 
November 2018

In This Issue
Election Day 2018
CELP's Winter CLE
Enloe Dam & Dungeness Rule Updates
Watershed Restoration & Enhancement Committees
Southwest WA Water Forum
2017 Annual Report
Keep Our Rivers Flowing!
Help ensure clean and flowing waters in Washington State by making a gift to CELP!

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Upcoming Events
Coastal Conservation Association Lower Columbia Meeting
November 8, 2018
The Carriage Restaurant
Longview, WA
CELP's Nick Manning will be presenting at the CCA meeting in November. Learn more here.

December 6, 2018
2100 Building
Seattle, WA
Join CELP for our 8th Annual CLE. Stay tuned for speakers and topics to be discussed. 

River Restoration Northwest Symposium
February 4-8, 2019
Skamania Lodge
Stevenson, WA
River Restoration Northwest is already gearing up for next year's symposium. Submissions for session proposals and presentations are open.

Get Out and Vote!

De ar Friends of CELP,
Wenatchee River
After a hot and dry summer, autumn is turning out to be wetter than usual this year. Above-average precipitation during September and October in most parts of the state has helped many of our rivers and streams return to normal flow levels. Despite this, previous years of low flows and warmer ocean waters are still having a negative affect on salmon returns. The rest of the year also is likely to be warmer than usual throughout the state, and potentially drier in eastern Washington. CELP's work is critical at this juncture, as our climate is changing and water resources become more strained.

You can make a difference: election day is less than a week away.  Your vote matters!  CELP is endorsing Initiative 1631, a carbon fee on the largest polluters in the state. Read on below to find out more about I-1631, how it can help our rivers and streams, and what other elected positions will be on your ballot next month. Please make your voice heard, and encourage others to vote as well!

It is hard to believe that November is already here, but it will 2019 before we know it. Next year will be a busy one for CELP, as we look towards the next legislative session, future litigation, legal workshops and outreach and speaking events. This work relies  on generous donations from members and supporters so we can hold lawmakers and agencies to task for protecting Washington's rivers and streams.  Please renew your support for CELP before December 31st!  Your gift is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
In this issue, you'll find more on this and other water issues, including more information on Election Day, CELP's Winter CLE, updates on our work with the Enloe Dam and Dungeness River rule, what's going on in southwest Washington, and much more.

  Trish Rolfe
Executive Director
P.S. Help us face these challenges head on and work to ensure healthy flowing rivers in Washington State for generations to come. Donate now!

VOTE: Election Day 2018!
Election day is just around the corner: Tuesday, November 6.

CELP is proud to endorse Initiative 1631, which would establish a carbon fee on the largest polluters in the state and fund environmental projects. 25% of the funds raised by from I-1631 will go towards protecting forests and water. This is a historic opportunity for Washington to lead the nation on carbon pricing and be the first government anywhere to establish such a program by a ballot referendum. Learn more about I-1631 here.

This year's ballot is critical to our state's future! All 98 Washington State House Representatives are up for re-election, as well as 25 State Senate seats. On the federal level, all 10 U.S. House Representative seats and one U.S. Senator seat are on the ballot as well. To see what seats are on the ballot in your county, go here. To find your local election office,  go here .

CELP's 8th Annual Winter CLE:
Protection of streamflows, salmon and orcas in a changing climate - is our legal toolkit up to the job?

Join us on Thursday, December 6th, for CELP's annual full-day winter Continuing Legal Education workshop. The event will take place at the 2100 Building in Seattle; registration opens at 7:45 am, and the program runs from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

CELP has applied for 6.5 CLE credits including 1 ethics credit with the Washington State Bar Association for this program.

Ticket Prices (lunch included):
  • Nonprofit/student - $70
  • Attorney/Professional/Agency - $170*
*10% discount available for CELP members. For more information about how to become a member, click here.

Stay tuned for a full agenda and our speakers.


CELP Continues Fight to Free Similkameen River

The long-running battle to remove this environmentally damaging and economically unjustifiable Enloe Dam continues. A major tributary to the Okanogan River, the
Enloe Dam
Enloe Dam
Similkameen flows through 122 miles of potential salmon habitat in British Columbia and Washington. A fish-blocking dam was constructed on the River in 1922 and has not generated power since 1958. The Okanogan County Public Utility District (PUD), which owns the dam, is attempting to restart power generation at the dam. The power the dam would produce is not needed and would be much more expensive than the PUD's current sources of electricity.

On September 13, along with the Sierra Club and Columbiana, CELP filed a Notice of Intent to Sue the Okanogan County PUD as well as the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) over the dam's effect on ESA-listed Upper Columbia steelhead and Chinook salmon. The Notice is the first step towards filing a lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act. We contend that the dam unlawfully harms ESA-listed fish species, that the process of evaluating the dam's impact on fish was inadequate, and that FERC unlawfully failed to consult with NMFS regarding the listed fish, as the Endangered Species Act requires. 

In a separate action, CELP has asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to review FERC's giving the PUD additional time to begin construction. The Federal Power Act requires that construction be started within the period of a hydroelectric license, and allows only a single two-year extension. When the PUD failed to begin construction within the required time, FERC "stayed" revocation of the license, effectively giving the PUD additional time. CELP believes that FERC lacked authority to "extend" the license in this manner and that it should have allowed public participation in the license amendment process.

Dungeness River Rule Challenge

This case (Bassett et al. v. Ecology, Case No. 51221-1-II) is a challenge by a group of property rights activists and developers to the Department of Ecology's Instream Flow Rule for the Dungeness River, WAC 173-518.  CELP supports the Rule, which provides for mitigated use of new permit-exempt wells while protecting instream resources.  After the plaintiffs filed suit against Ecology, CELP joined in the case as an intervener to argue in favor of the Rule. CELP and Ecology prevailed in Thurston County Superior Court, and plaintiffs appealed.   Division II of the Washington Court of Appeals heard oral argument in the case on October 18 and we are now awaiting the Court's ruling.

Hirst  Update: Watershed Restoration and  Enhancement Committees

Last session, the Washington State Legislature passed a streamflow restoration law, ESSB 6091, in response to the Supreme Court's  Hirst decision.  Hirst changed how
Source: WA Department of Ecology.
counties could approve or deny building permits that use permit-exempt wells for a water source.

The law, RCW 90.94 Streamflow Restoration, helps protect water resources while providing water for rural residents reliant on permit exempt wells. The law directs local planning groups in 15 watersheds to develop or update plans that offset potential impacts to instream flows associated with new permit-exempt domestic water use. The law splits up these watersheds into two groups: those with previously adopted watershed plans and those without.

The Nooksack, Nisqually, Lower Chehalis, Upper Chehalis, Okanogan, Little Spokane, and Colville basins all have previously adopted watershed plans. For these seven basins, local watershed planning units are to update their watershed plan in order to compensate for the impacts of new permit exempt well uses.
Deschutes River | Source: WA Department of Ecology,

The law identifies the Nooksack and Nisqually basins as the first two to be completed. They have until February 2019 to adopt a plan; if they fail to do so, Ecology must adopt related rules no later than August 2020. Planning units in the Lower Ch ehalis, Upper Chehalis, Okanogan, Little Spokane, and Colville basins have until February 2021 to develop their plans.  Until watershed plans are updated and rules are adopted in these seven watersheds, new permit-exempt wells require only payment of a $500 fee. The maximum withdrawal is 3,000 gallons per day per connection on an annual average basis.

Eight other watersheds do not have previously adopted watershed plans. They are Snohomish, Cedar-Sammamish, Duwamish-Green, Puyallup-White, Chambers-Clover, Deschutes, Kennedy-Goldsborough, and Kitsap. For these eight basins:
  • Ecology will establish and chair watershed committees and invite representatives from local governments, tribes, and interest groups.
  • The plans for these watersheds are due June 30, 2021.
  • New permit-exempt wells require payment of a $500 fee. The maximum withdrawal is 950 gallons per day per connection, on an annual average basis. During drought, this may be curtailed to 350 gallons per day per connection for indoor use only.
  • Building permit applicants in these areas must adequately manage stormwater onsite.

CELP has been appointed to participate on the Snohomish, Cedar-Sammamish and Duwamish-Green watershed planning units, and we have volunteers participating in several others.


The law also provides $300 million until 2033 for projects that will help fish and streamflows. Watershed planning groups will recommend proposals for funding by Ecology to achieve this.



Southwest Washington Water Protection Forum

Nick Manning presenting at the forum.
Last week, on October 24, CELP and partner organizations presented about issues affecting and work being done in watersheds in southwest Washington. The forum was sponsored jointly by the Friends of the East Fork, Cascade Forest Conservancy, CELP and the Loo Wit Group WA Chapter of the Sierra Club, and was hosted at the Vancouver Community Library.

Speakers include Richard Dyrland (Friends of the East Fork), Nicole Budine (Cascade Forest Conservancy) and Nick Manning (CELP). Thank you to all who came out to discuss and learn more about local watersheds!

CCALearn More about Protecting Streamflows & Fish Habitats in Southwest Washington!
Join the Coastal Conservation Association Washington's Lower Columbia Chapter for their November meeting and learn about protecting streamflow and fish habitat in southwest Washington.  CELP's Water Policy Organizer Nick Manning will be presenting and discussing protection efforts for the Cowlitz, Lewis, Grays and Elochoman Rivers.

Bring questions and a friend (or two). Food and drink will be available. All are welcome to attend!

When: Thursday, November 8 @ 6:30 pm

Where: The Carriage Restaurant - 1334 12th Avenue, Longview WA


2017 Annual Report

Our 2017 Annual Report is now a vailable online! Catch up on all the work CELP did in 2017 in the legislature and courts for Washington's waterways. Our work would not be possible with the support of our members and volunteers -- so thank you!

Read it online here. If you would like to request a hard copy, please e-mail Emma Kilkelly at ekilkelly@celp.org.

Thanks for taking the time to read Washington Water Watch!  Thanks to your help, CELP has accomplished much but, as you can see, more needs 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 

The Center for Environmental Law & Policy is a statewide organization whose mission is to protect, preserve and restore Washington's waters through education, policy reform, agency advocacy, and public interest litigation.

If you care about a future with water, please become a CELP member today!
You can reach us at ( 206) 829-8299 or  email us .