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WRIA 8 & 9 Watershed Plans Moving for Preliminary Approval

Posted on Feb 5, 2021 in:
  • Advocacy
  • RBC
  • Industry Issues
  • Environment

For the past two years, MBAKS staff has served on the WRIA 8 and WRIA 9 Restoration and Enhancement Committees. These Committees were formed due to the adoption of 2018 Legislation creating The Streamflow Restoration Act (RCW 90.94). 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 (PE) domestic water use. MBAKS is also participating on the WRIA 7 restoration and enhancement committee in Snohomish County.
 
The WRIA 8 Committee has reached interim agreement on the final draft watershed plan. It has been distributed to committee members for internal review and approval. Notable elements of the WRIA 8 Plan include:

  • The Committee projects 967 PE wells over the 20-year planning horizon, with a consumptive use estimate of 425.4 acre-feet per year.

  • The Committee identified 11 water offset projects that would offset 1,762.18 acre-feet per year.

  • Projects are divided between Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 projects are those already under discussion for water rights acquisition. Tier 2 have some remaining challenges prior to full acquisition.

  • Offset can still be achieved with fulfillment of Tier 1 water acquisitions only.

  • The Committee also recommended several optional policies or programs to help achieve net ecological benefit, monitoring, and/or water conservation.

The WRIA 9 Committee has also reached interim agreement on the final draft watershed plan. It too has been distributed to committee members for internal review and approval. Notable elements of the WRIA 9 Plan include:

  • The Committee projects 632 PE wells over the 20-year planning horizon, with a consumptive use estimate of 247.7 acre-feet per year.

  • The Committee identified 6 water rights acquisition projects that would offset 1,075 acre-feet per year.

  • In order to achieve Net Ecological Benefit, the Committee also recommends a number of habitat projects but does not identify an offset.

  • The WRIA 9 Committee was unable to establish consensus to identify policy and regulatory recommendations in the plan. These recommendations included potential metering and increases to PE well fees, which were not supported by your Association.

WRIA 8 has Feb. 18 as the deadline for individual Committee member review of the final draft plan and Feb. 23 as the final vote to approve the plan by full Committee. WRIA 9 has Feb. 16 as the deadline for individual Committee member review of the final draft plan and Feb. 23 to vote on approval of the final plan as a full Committee. All Committee members must approve the Plan before it is submitted to Ecology for adoption. Visit the Committee’s websites for a complete overview: WRIA 8 Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Committee and WRIA 9 Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Committee.

If you have questions or feedback on the draft WRIA plans, please contact rbc@mbaks.com.

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