Clallam official to meet with Gov. Inslee’s staff on Dungeness reservoir, recreation

Mark Ozias

Mark Ozias

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County Commissioner Mark Ozias will meet with a member of Gov. Jay Inslee’s staff to discuss the proposed off-stream reservoir for the Dungeness River and other topics.

Ozias announced last Tuesday that he would travel to Olympia on Friday to discuss Inslee’s outdoor recreation initiative.

Outdoor recreation is one of several components of the proposed $25 million to $30 million reservoir southwest of Sequim.

“Apparently the governor has determined that outdoor recreation and supporting outdoor recreation is going to be one of his priorities this year,” Ozias said in Tuesday’s board meeting.

“That gives us the opportunity to talk to someone else about the Dungeness off-channel reservoir project, as well as other recreational activities in our county such as the Olympic Discovery Trail.”

Representatives from multiple state agencies toured the 319-acre proposed reservoir site off River Road on Dec. 15, after which time Ozias reported an “increasing level of enthusiasm about the project.”

Clallam County is working with a variety of partners, including irrigators, the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe, Clallam Conservation District, Washington Water Trust and the city of Sequim, to build a reservoir on land now owned by the state Department of Natural Resources.

In addition to providing needed irrigation water in the summer and early fall, proponents say the project would improve salmon habitat, reduce flood risks and create new wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.

DNR has asked the legislature to consider funding a $2 million transfer of the land to Clallam County as part of its 2017 Trust Land Transfer program.

If approved, the reservoir site would become a county park.

Meanwhile, the Clallam County Road Department continues to build segments of the Olympic Discovery Trail. The multipurpose trail will eventually span the North Olympic Peninsula from Port Townsend to La Push.

Recently, Clallam County has been focused on reconstructing the Spruce Railroad Trail at Lake Crescent, which will become an iconic segment of the Olympic Discovery Trail.

Ozias said his meeting with Inslee’s office would be an opportunity to “make sure that we are on the governor’s radar.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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