WSR 07-22-116

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Order 07-17 -- Filed November 7, 2007, 10:32 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: This rule making will create chapter 173-518 WAC, Dungeness instream resources protection and watershed management program. The proposed rule will: (1) Create water rights for instream values (instream flows) in the Dungeness River mainstem, tributaries, and independent drainages; (2) develop a means for mitigating new ground water uses; and (3) set up a framework to implement water management strategies described in the Elwha-Dungeness (WRIA 18) watershed plan. The rule will address the Dungeness portion of the Elwha-Dungeness watershed.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapter 90.82 RCW, Watershed 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; chapter 77.55 RCW, Construction projects in state waters (hydraulic code); chapter 18.104 RCW, Water well construction; chapter 43.21A RCW, Department of ecology; chapter 43.21C RCW, State environmental policy; chapter 90.42 RCW, Water resources management; chapter 90.46 RCW, Reclaimed water use; and chapter 90.08 RCW, Stream patrolmen.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The Elwha-Dungeness water inventory resource area (WIRA 18) is one of the few designated "water-critical" watersheds in western Washington without an instream flow rule. The adoption of this rule is needed to: (1) Fulfill the requirements of chapters 90.54 and 90.82 RCW; (2) protect instream resources and fish habitat; (3) establish a means for mitigating ground water use; (4) allow ecology to proceed with water right decisions in the basin; (5) set up a framework to implement the watershed plan's water management strategies; and (6) meet obligations ecology agreed to in the watershed plan that have to be addressed through regulations. Ecology intends to establish a memorandum of understanding with Clallam County to implement the rule and watershed plan.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: No other agencies have the authority to regulate this subject. However, consultation will occur with the Washington departments of fish and wildlife; community, trade and economic development; health; and agriculture; as well as representatives of the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe and other Klallam tribes, as part of our outreach process.

Process for Developing New Rule: During the rule-making process, ecology will share draft language with the Dungeness River management team; Washington departments of fish and wildlife; community, trade and economic development; health; and agriculture; as well as the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe and other Klallam tribes; rule-making advisory committees; and other interested parties. Ecology will prepare press releases, focus sheets and other explanatory materials for distribution to mailing and e-mail lists. In addition, ecology has created a web page for the rule proposal, and will offer workshops on the rule prior to and after filing the CR-102. Finally, ecology will hold one or more public hearings to solicit comments on the formal rule proposal. For more information on this rule making, please see http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/instream-flows/dungeness.html.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Sarah Ferguson, Department of Ecology, Water Resources Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, (360) 407-6780, sfer461@ecy.wa.gov, fax (360) 407-7162; or Cynthia Nelson, Department of Ecology, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, (360) 407-0276, cyne461@ecy.wa.gov, fax (360) 407-6305.

November 6, 2007

Ken Slattery

Water Resources

Program Manager

Washington State Code Reviser's Office