Washington Water Watch 
November/December 2015

In This Issue
Ecology's Rural Water Supply Workgroup
Thanks for Attending Our Annual CLE!
CELP's New Board Chair & Vice Chair
Thanks to the Kalispel Tribe!
A Prayer for the River by Tina Wynecoop
Keep Our Rivers Flowing!
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CELP Will Continue To Build On 2015 Achievements!

Dear friend, 
Deschutes River - Photo from WA Dept. of Ecology

The year is coming to a close, and what a year it has been. Even with this year's historic drought CELP has had a successful year keeping Washington's rivers and streams flowing with greater protections. Our victories include:

  • Protecting Washington's rivers by supporting Sara Foster in her recent Supreme Court victory reaffirming that Ecology cannot impair Washington's river and streams.
  • Helping to defeat over 20 bad water resource bills in Olympia, and promoting more sustainable water management.
  • Helping clean up the Spokane River by winning our challenge to an inadequate EPA plan regarding the Spokane River PCB Cleanup. 
  • Calling on Spokane residents to conserve water by launching a PR campaign on the low flows in the Spokane River.
Next year will bring a new set of challenges, and CELP will be there to protect the public interests - your interests - in fish and wildlife habitat, recreational use of rivers, scenic beauty, and drinking water supply for our communities. But we can't do it alone; we rely on our loyal supports like you.

In this issue, you'll find articles about Ecology's Rural Water Supply Workgroup, the success of CELP's December 3rd CLE event, our most recent job opening, and updates on various legal news. You will also be introduced to our new Board Chair and Vice Chair, Daryl Williams and John Roskelley, enjoy the poetry of Tina Wynecoop, and more.
CELP continues to work tirelessly to protect Washington's freshwater resources and ensure wise and sustainable water management for future generations, but we can't do it alone.
So if you are planning a year end charitable donation, consider a gift to CELP. This year CELP has received a $10,000 challenge grant from a loyal donor; if we raise $10,000 in donations by December 31st it will be matched.  

Best water wishes,


Trish Rolfe
Executive Director

Please help us reach our goal by donating before December 31st on our secure website: www.celp.org

Ecology's Rural Water Supply Workgroup

By Trish Rolfe

CELP joined Ecology's Rural Water Supply Workgroup, formed in 2014. The Workgroup was formed after the Washington Supreme Court's Swinomish Indian Tribal Community v. Ecology decision, which held that Ecology could not use the Overriding Considerations of the Public Interest exception to justify impairing instream flows to reserve water for development. The workgroup was established to balance instream and out of stream water uses and help Ecology find new ways to provide water for future rural development. In many areas this could be significantly restricted by adoption of an instream flow rule. Ecology completed a report on this subject at the end of 2014, and delivered it to the Washington State Legislature prior to the beginning of session. CELP and tribal representatives disagreed with many of the assumptions made in the report, and CELP submitted detailed written comments on the reportSeveral bills in the 2015 Legislative session came out of that report, and CELP worked with our Tribal allies to kill the bills that would impair instream-flows.
Hydrologist measuring stream flow - 
Photo from USGS
Ecology continued to facilitate stakeholder 
discussions throughout 2015, and CELP continues to participate. Ecology moved ahead with a mitigation study similar to one that the Senate proposed in Senate Bill 5965, even though that legislation did not pass. Ecology released the draft report, "Mitigation Options for the Impacts of New Permit-Exempt Groundwater Withdrawals" in October 2015, and CELP's main objections to the report were its recommendations to the legislature. 

In the report, Ecology recommended that the Legislature state its intention clearly through statutory amendment if it intends additional mitigation tools to be available to mitigate impacts from permit-exempt wells, including out-of-time mitigation, out-of-place mitigation, out-of-kind aquatic habitat mitigation, or other approaches. CELP objected to this recommendation because it was not supported by the report. 
CELP representatives will continue to participate, and encourage Ecology to look at conservation and alternative water supplies like water banks, cistern, and trucked in water as well as conservation to provide water for new domestic wells instead of impairing instream flows by taking water out of the streams.  
Thanks to All Who Attended Our Annual CLE - Especially Our Wonderful Speakers!
By Dan Von Seggern

Approximately 50 attorneys and others interested in water resource protection attended CELP's annual full-day CLE, held December 3, 2015 at the 2100 Building in Seattle. This year's theme was "Water Law & the Public Trust: Living Within Our Water Means." 

Two panel discussions addressed current issues in water usage. Attorneys Tim Trohimovich and Emily Haley, along with CELP's executive director Trish Rolfe, participated in a panel discussion on land use and water supply. Mr. Trohimovich discussed the intersection of the Growth Management Act and water use, including Whatcom County v. Hirst, a case addressing a county's obligations to protect water resources under the Growth Management Act and now pending before the Washington Supreme Court. Ms. Haley discussed issues regarding protection of Skagit River instream flows, including Swinomish Indian Tribal Community v. Ecology (2013; limiting application of a statutory exception allowing impairment of instream flows) and Fox v. Skagit County (a challenge to the prior appropriations scheme for groundwater regulation, pending at the Court of Appeals). 

The afternoon panel covered techniques for alleviating water scarcity within the existing supply. John Hollowed, Legal and Policy Advisor for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, gave a presentation on water conservation. Kelsey Collins, Ecology's Statewide Trust Water Coordinator, discussed trust water rights and water banking, and Jacque Klug, Recycled Water Project Manager at the King County Department of Natural Resources, presented on King County's use of reclaimed water. 

Prof. Robert Anderson of the University of Washington Law School gave an overview of tribal water rights, and Prof. Catherine O'Neill of Seattle University Law School spoke on standards for water contaminants based on fish consumption. Eugene attorney Charlie Tebbutt discussed his recent victory in a case of groundwater contamination by Yakima-area industrial dairies. Finally, Andrea Rodgers wrapped up the public trust theme with a presentation on a climate change case brought by a group of teenagers, culminating in recognition by a King County judge that the state must protect the atmosphere for future generations.

If you were unable to attend the CLE but would like to purchase the presentation materials, they are available for $30.  Please contact [email protected].

Welcoming Daryl Williams as CELP's New Board Chair, and John Roskelly as Vice Chair 

by Kelly Mistry & John Roskelley
Daryl Williams accepting award from Swinomish IndianTribal Community on behalf of CELP in fall 2015 - Photo by Frank James
Starting in January, all of us at CELP are excited to welcome Daryl Williams and John Roskelley as CELP's new Board Chair and Vice Chair, respectively. Daryl has been a member of our board since 2013, and John joined the board in late 2014. 

Outside of his work for CELP, Daryl is currently serving as Executive Director of the Tulalip Energy Corporation and Environmental Liaison for the Natural Resources Division. He is a member of the Tulalip Tribe, and has been on staff with the Tribe since 1977 in many capacities. Daryl also serves as President of the  Adopt A Stream Foundation and Director of Qualco Energy. He was appointed to the Puget Sound Action Team by Governor Locke, and was a member of the National Tribal Environmental Council.  

John Roskelley, fishing with son Jess - 
Photo by Joyce Roskelley
John is a water advocate, legendary mountaineer and author. He also has a long history of public service, including serving on the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the Growth Management Hearings Board, and as Spokane County Commissioner. John's latest book is Paddling the Columbia: A guide to all 1,200 miles of our scenic and historical river. John is especially interested in removing dams, and in restoring health to the Columbia River and its tributaries.

We asked John to tell us a bit more about why he is passionate about CELP's mission:

"To understand why I am an enthusiastic supporter of CELP, one only has to look at its mission statement, which reads in part, "to protect, preserve and restore Washington's waters through education, policy reform, agency advocacy, and public interest litigation." Almost every day we are reminded that we can no longer expect our elected representatives to protect and preserve the state's water; that we can no longer depend on state agencies to enforce the Clean Water Act and state laws; and we can no longer look the other way as agriculture and industry continue wasting and abusing the state's waters.

In a perfect world, CELP would not be necessary. We could depend on those in charge to assure our most precious resource is abundant and clean. But it has become painfully clear to me that common sense and best available science is seldom used by decision makers, as special interests lobby to pollute our waterways just a little bit more or divide dry creeks and rivers into smaller portions we no longer have."

Thanks to the Kalispel Tribe for Their Contribution to the Columbia River Ethics & Treaty Project

All of us at the Center for Environmental Law & Policy would like to thank the Kalispel Tribe for their generous donation towards our work on the Columbia River Ethics and Treaty Project. The mission of the Ethics & Treaty Project is to modernize the Columbia River Treaty to promote the common good through stewardship and justice, while encouraging respectful dialogue and an international water ethic for the Columbia River. The Ethics & Treaty Project is a joint project of CELP and Sierra Club, working with the 15 Tribes with natural resource authorities in the Columbia River Basin and also First Nations in the Basin.  

Spokane River
A Prayer for the River*

Tina Wynecoop

Look at the calmed water: not stilled, yet
It has become the
'loudest silent presence' in our midst.
The river is gasping for water. The feeding aquifer
is diminished by ignorance and by carelessness
(and certainly by greed).
Now, the river is fed by Salish tears.
This is our prayer that ripples out into the world:
We pray for the respectful protection of all rivers and their watersheds.
Our prayer acknowledges the exquisiteness of God's interdependent creation.
Don't forget for a moment that Creation buoys
the prayers' thoughts, lifting them,
empowering the seekers as they search for
solutions that seem invisible.
We contain the ideas -
always - and in all ways - available, presenting
themselves to listening hearts.
We lookout for what is in the river's best interest.
The river, in its essence,
is a spiritual concept representing all the flowing,
the cleansing, the restoring, the feeding, and the nurturing
held in Mind's landscape.
It is the river the 'land cradles and bows to.'
We are its servants as well.  We bow.  We pray.
We cease to lord over this living being.
Rivers are calling for our prayers,
we pray for all rivers -
acknowledging their place in the design of the Creator.
Our River will flow freely, then, fed by Salish tears of Thanksgiving joy!
Remember River: We care. 
Remember us, River: - instruct us,
and forgive us in Your own universal solvent of prayer.
*("A basic holiness permeates things and people." Gal 5:22)

Thanks for taking the time to read Washington Water Watch!  Thanks to your help, CELP has accomplished much but, as you can see, more needs to be done. You can support our work by making a donation online here, or mailing a check to: 

85 S Washington St #301, Seattle, WA 98104 

CELP's mission is to protect and restore Washington's rivers and aquifers through science-based management of and advocacy for our waters.  CELP works through public education, grassroots assistance, agency advocacy, legislative reform, and public interest litigation.


If you care about a future with water, please become a CELP member today!

You can reach us at: 206-829-8299 or email us.