Panel to mull Dungeness water rule today

Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– The first in a new set of meetings to monitor the implementation of the Dungeness River watershed water management rule is set from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. today.

The panel discussion organized by Clallam County and the state Department of Ecology will be at the John Wayne Marina, 2577 West Sequim Bay Road.

Representatives of 11 area agencies will meet every other month to track the effects of Ecology’s water rule, which was put into effect Jan. 2.

Dan Partridge, communications manager for Ecology’s water resources program, said the panel will discuss how the rule is being applied, how it is affecting building permits, compliance with new mitigation laws, use of public water systems, the status of mitigation projects and how the river is being affected by the new rule.

The rule covers the eastern half of Water Resource Inventory Area 18, from Bagley Creek to Sequim Bay.

In-stream flows

It sets minimum in-stream flows, which is the amount of water needed to provide for downstream use, to protect present and future water supplies for marine habitat and human usage and consumption.

The rule directly affects the owners of more than 3,400 parcels if and when they are developed, according to the Clallam County Department of Community Development.

Property owners who tap into an existing well or dig new wells must buy water mitigation credits from a “water bank” managed by the nonprofit Washington Water Trust, which is under contract through June 30.

Today’s session was organized to gauge the public’s sentiment thus far and to set out a framework for future meetings.

The panel consists of representatives of 11 organizations.

Panel organizations

They are Sequim City Manager Steve Burkett and Sequim Public Works Director Paul Haines; Clallam Conservation District Manager Joe Holtrop; Clallam Public Utility District General Manager Doug Nass; Dungeness Water Users Association spokesman Gary Smith; Jamestown S’Klallam Natural Resources Department Director Scott Chitwood.

Also, Lower Elwha Klallam Environmental Coordinator Matt Beirne; North Peninsula Builders Association Board President Garret DelaBarre and Executive Director FaLeana Wech; Port Gamble S’Klallam Natural Resources Director Paul McCollum; Sequim Association of Realtors President E. Michael McAleer and state Director Marguerite Glover; Washington Water Trust Executive Director Susan Adams and Amanda Cronin, project manager; and Hal Beecher, state Department of Fish and Wildlife in-stream flow specialist.

Last modified: April 17. 2013 5:22PM
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