PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: This rule will amend chapter 173-532 WAC, Water resources program for the Walla Walla basin, WRIA 32. The amendment will include rule language setting instream flows/closures and may include tools for managing water in the Walla Walla basin. The watershed planning unit is looking at alternatives for water management; some of which may be included in the rule proposal.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapter 90.82 RCW, Water shed planning; chapter 90.54 RCW, Water Resources Act of 1971; chapter 90.22 RCW, Minimum water flows and levels; chapter 90.03 RCW, Water code; chapter 90.44 RCW, Regulation of public ground waters; and chapter 77.55 RCW, Construction projects in state waters (hydraulic code).
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The possible adoption of these rule amendments is needed to protect instream values within the Walla Walla basin of Water Resources Inventory Area 32, including ESA listed fish (bull trout, steelhead).
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: Ecology has exclusive statutory authority under chapter 90.22 RCW to establish minimum instream water flows and closures. Consultation will occur with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and tribes. In establishing instream flows, RCW 90.03.247 directs ecology "to consult with, and carefully consider the recommendations of, the department of fish and wildlife, the department of community, trade, and economic development, the department of agriculture, and representatives of the affected Indian tribes." We will also coordinate with the appropriate federal agencies and other state agencies.
Process for Developing New Rule: We will build on local efforts and draft rule language will be shared with the local watershed planning unit; Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Community, Trade and Economic Development, and Agriculture; tribes; and other interested parties. We will develop and distribute a focus sheet to mailing lists and e-mail lists. We will hold a public hearing to solicit comments from interested parties.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Doug Rushton, Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, (360) 407-6513, firstname.lastname@example.org, fax (360) 407-6574. For the latest updates on water resources issues, including Walla Walla basin rule making, sign up for the Department of Ecology water resources e-mail list http://listserv.wa.gov/archives/water-resources.html or check out the water resources website at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/wrhome.html.
April 1, 2004