WSR 04-07-129



[ Order 04-03 -- Filed March 22, 2004, 3:25 p.m. ]

     Subject of Possible Rule Making: This rule making will create chapter 173-518 WAC, Elwha Dungeness instream resources protection and watershed management program. The proposed rule will establish instream flows for the Dungeness River mainstem, tributaries and independent drainages, and tributaries to the Elwha River. The rule will also provide a quantity of ground water that may be available for future water use, and set up a framework to implement the water management strategies described in the Elwha Dungeness (WRIA 18) watershed plan.

     Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapter 90.842 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; 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 is one of the only designated "water-critical" watersheds in western Washington without an instream flow rule. The adoption of this rule is needed to fulfill the statutory requirements of chapters 90.54 and 90.82 RCW; implement those obligations ecology agreed to in the watershed plan that have to be addressed through regulations; protect instream resources and ESA-listed fish; allow ecology to proceed with water right decisions; and provide a quantity of ground water and set up a framework in order to implement the watershed plan's management strategies.

     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, and representatives of the Jamestown S'Klallam and Lower Elwha 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 and Elwha Morse management teams; Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife, Community, Trade and Economic Development, Health, and Agriculture; the Jamestown S'Klallam and Lower Elwha Klallam Tribes; 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 will also create a web page for the rule proposal, and offer workshops on the rule. Finally, ecology will hold one or more public hearings to solicit comments on the formal rule proposal.

     Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Lynne Geller, Department of Ecology, Water Resources Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600, (360) 407-6450,, fax (360) 407-7162.

March 22, 2004

Joe Stohr

Water Resources Program Manager