(1)(a) Upon completing its proposed watershed plan, the planning unit may approve the proposal by consensus of all of the members of the planning unit or by consensus among the members of the planning unit appointed to represent units of government and a majority vote of the nongovernmental members of the planning unit.
(b) If the proposal is approved by the planning unit, the unit shall submit the proposal to the counties with territory within the management area. If the planning unit has received funding beyond the initial organizing grant under RCW 90.82.040
, such a proposal approved by the planning unit shall be submitted to the counties within four years of the date that funds beyond the initial funding are first drawn upon by the planning unit.
(c) If the watershed plan is not approved by the planning unit, the planning unit may submit the components of the plan for which agreement is achieved using the procedure under (a) of this subsection, or the planning unit may terminate the planning process.
(2)(a) With the exception of a county legislative authority that chooses to opt out of watershed planning as provided in (c) of this subsection, the legislative authority of each of the counties with territory in the management area shall provide public notice of and conduct at least one public hearing on the proposed watershed plan submitted under this section. After the public hearings, the legislative authorities of these counties shall convene in joint session to consider the proposal. The counties may approve or reject the proposed watershed plan for the management area, but may not amend it. Approval of such a proposal shall be made by a majority vote of the members of each of the counties with territory in the management area.
(b) If a proposed watershed plan is not approved, it shall be returned to the planning unit with recommendations for revisions. Approval of such a revised proposal by the planning unit and the counties shall be made in the same manner provided for the original watershed plan. If approval of the revised plan is not achieved, the process shall terminate.
(c) A county legislative authority may choose to opt out of watershed planning under this chapter and the public hearing processes under (a) and (b) of this subsection if the county's affected territory within a particular management area is: (i) Less than five percent of the total territory within the management area; or (ii) five percent or more of the total territory within the management area and all other initiating governments within the management area consent. A county meeting these conditions and choosing to opt out shall notify the department and the other initiating governments of that choice prior to commencement of plan adoption under the provisions of (a) of this subsection. A county choosing to opt out under the provisions of this section shall not be bound by obligations contained in the watershed plan adopted for that management area under this chapter. Even if a county chooses to opt out under the provisions of this section, the other counties within a management area may adopt a proposed watershed plan as provided in this chapter.
(3) The planning unit shall not add an element to its watershed plan that creates an obligation unless each of the governments to be obligated has at least one representative on the planning unit and the respective members appointed to represent those governments agree to adding the element that creates the obligation. A member's agreeing to add an element shall be evidenced by a recorded vote of all members of the planning unit in which the members record support for adding the element. If the watershed plan is approved under subsections (1) and (2) of this section and the plan creates obligations: (a) For agencies of state government, the agencies shall adopt by rule the obligations of both state and county governments and rules implementing the state obligations, or, with the consent of the planning unit, may adopt policies, procedures, or agreements related to the obligations or implementation of the obligations in addition to or in lieu of rules. The obligations on state agencies are binding upon adoption of the obligations, and the agencies shall take other actions to fulfill their obligations as soon as possible, and should annually review implementation needs with respect to budget and staffing; (b) for counties, the obligations are binding on the counties and the counties shall adopt any necessary implementing ordinances and take other actions to fulfill their obligations as soon as possible, and should annually review implementation needs with respect to budget and staffing; or (c) for an organization voluntarily accepting an obligation, the organization must adopt policies, procedures, agreements, rules, or ordinances to implement the plan, and should annually review implementation needs with respect to budget and staffing.
(4) After a plan is adopted in accordance with subsection (3) of this section, and if the department participated in the planning process, the plan shall be deemed to satisfy the watershed planning authority of the department with respect to the components included under the provisions of RCW 90.82.070
for the watershed or watersheds included in the plan. The department shall use the plan as the framework for making future water resource decisions for the planned watershed or watersheds. Additionally, the department shall rely upon the plan as a primary consideration in determining the public interest related to such decisions.
(5) Once a WRIA plan has been approved under subsection (2) of this section for a watershed, the department may develop and adopt modifications to the plan or obligations imposed by the plan only through a form of negotiated rule making that uses the same processes that applied in that watershed for developing the plan.
(6) As used in this section, "obligation" means any action required as a result of this chapter that imposes upon a tribal government, county government, or state government, either: A fiscal impact; a redeployment of resources; or a change of existing policy.