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Public input sought on environmental reviews for two new watershed plans in Pierce and King counties

OLYMPIA – 

The Washington Department of Ecology is seeking public comment through May 23 for two environmental reviews the agency has completed for the watershed restoration plans for the Puyallup-White and the Chambers-Clover river drainage basins in Puget Sound.

The new plans lay out priories to protect and improve fish habitat, while also ensuring sufficient water is available for rural residents. Each plan was developed by a coalition of local governments and local interest groups.

The plans are part of a statewide effort to improve habitat and protect streamflows so there is enough water for fish, wildlife, recreation, aesthetics, water quality, and navigation.

The Puyallup-White watershed, also known as Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 10, comprises portions of Pierce and King counties. The Chambers-Clover watershed, also known as WRIA 12, covers a portion of Pierce County. Both are among 15 watersheds identified in a 2018 streamflow restoration law requiring a watershed plan or plan update. Ecology evaluates each plan before making a decision whether or not to adopt it.

Submitting comments on Ecology's review

Since the watershed plans for WRIA 10 and WRIA 12 are unlikely to have significant, adverse environmental impacts, Ecology issued a determination of non-significance for each plan under the State Environmental Policy Act.

Ecology is asking for public review regarding its determination and environmental checklist for each plan. The department is seeking comments to help identify missing or incorrect information, whether additional studies are needed, and other information that could help Ecology improve its environmental analysis.To provide comments, please use the online comment forms for WRIA 10 and WRIA 12

Background

The WRIA 10 and WRIA 12 watershed plans forecast the number of new domestic permit-exempt wells between years 2018 and 2038, and their potential impacts on streamflows. The plans recommend projects and actions that, if completed, will offset the impacts of those additional wells and provide a net ecological benefit to each  watershed. Examples of projects and actions include water right acquisitions, stormwater facilities, reconnecting floodplains and improving aquatic habitat.

The streamflow restoration planning law helps improve streamflows to levels necessary to support healthy and sustainable native fish populations, while also providing water for homes in rural communities.