From Matt Batcheldor’s report in The Olympian November 20th:
“The Squaxin Island Tribe and the cities of Olympia, Lacey and Yelm are joining to manage a $500,000 fund for restoration of Budd Inlet and the Deschutes watershed.”
“Each of the cities will put $166,000 into the fund, the latest step in a partnership that has been forged by a shared quest for water rights. The new water rights, after a process of more than 15 years, may get final approval from the state Department of Ecology by the end of the year, barring appeals.
The $500,000 in funding is contingent on the water rights being approved.
The coalition members will begin developing a strategic plan for long-term restoration of the watershed and will invite other parties to join them, according to the agreement.”
“The Squaxin Island Tribe retains hunting, fishing and gathering rights in the waters of Budd Inlet and the Deschutes watershed, dating to the Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854, the agreement notes.
Keeping a clean watershed is in each of the parties best interest, and is important in securing water rights. Before the state gave tentative approval this year, the three cities had to protect habitat to prove they can extract water without further damaging stream flows and fish.
The cities bought a 197-acre farm on the Deschutes River south of Yelm this year where existing water rights were to be retired. Habitat restoration is planned. Wetlands will be created on the property, and stream channels will be enhanced for fish, Hoey said.
The cities also proposed other mitigation measures, such as using reclaimed water and starting other habitat-restoration projects in the Woodland Creek and Nisqually basins.
The water rights, if approved, will allow each city to develop its water system.”