WSR 08-09-145

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY


[ Filed April 23, 2008, 10:23 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: This rule making will create chapter 173-527 WAC, Water resources management program for the Lewis Basin. Instream flows will be proposed for the Lewis (lower, middle, upper), East Fork Lewis, and Kalama rivers. Instream flows may also be proposed for a number of other tributaries within the watershed where habitat studies exist. Where appropriate, closures to future appropriation will also be established in rule. The rule language will provide for water supply reservations and will set up requirements to [for] accessing the reservation in order to promote protection of future supply and instream values. Clark County portions of the reserve will be transferred from chapter 173-592 WAC, Reservation of future public water supply for Clark County, in the amount recommended by watershed plan for specific subbasins. After transfer, chapter 173-592 WAC will be repealed in its entirety.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapters 90.82, 90.22, 90.54, 90.03, 90.44, 18.104, 90.42, and 77.55 RCW.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Water Resources Inventory Area (WRIA) 27 is located in southwest Washington state and comprises portions of Clark, Skamania, Cowlitz and Yakima counties. A variety of needs must be met by surface and ground waters in this region of the state. Just as water supply for people is growing in demand, instream flows throughout the watershed are vital for fish and wildlife species. Local streams provide habitat for fish species that have recently been listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

ESA Status of Listed Fish Species in WRIA 27: Spring and Fall Chinook, "Threatened" - March 24, 1999; Coho, "Candidate" - July 14, 1997; Summer and Winter Steelhead, "Threatened" - March 19, 1998; Chum, "Threatened" - March 25, 1999; Bull Trout, "Threatened" - June 10, 1998.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The department will consult with the affected tribes in the Lewis Watershed, other state departments (including Washington department of fish and wildlife), and appropriate federal agencies.

Process for Developing New Rule: During rule making, draft 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. Ecology will hold at least one open house prior to filing the CR-102 and proposed rule language. A focus sheet, web page, and public notice will be developed to explain the elements of the proposed rule and announce the date(s) of the open house(s). A press release, mailing and e-mail will be used to distribute the information.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Travis Burns, Department of Ecology, Water Resources Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, phone (360) 407-7207, fax (360) 407-7162, Tbur461@ecy.wa.gov; or Scott McKinney, Department of Ecology, SWRO, Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program, P.O. Box 47775, Olympia, WA 98504-7775, phone (360) 407-6389, fax (360) 407-6574, smck461@ecy.wa.gov.

April 21, 2008

Kenneth O. Slattery

Program Manager

Washington State Code Reviser's Office