13 counties to benefit from water banks, stream flow enhancements
OLYMPIA – December 28, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The Washington Department of Ecology is awarding grants to public utility, conservation and irrigation districts to help improve local and regional water supplies in river basins across the state.
Twelve grants totaling $3.4 million from a legislative appropriation will benefit water supplies and fish habitat, support jobs and population growth in 13 counties: Yakima, Chelan, Stevens, Spokane, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Ferry, King, Whatcom, San Juan, Mason and Skamania.
The grants range in size from $46,000 to $700,000 and help fund:
Improvements to water delivery infrastructure.
Surface or groundwater storage feasibility studies.
Acquisition of senior water rights by purchase or lease in water-short basins.
Water metering and well monitoring.
The smallest grant to The Lands Council is for a beaver management study to identify sites in Spokane, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens and Ferry counties where beaver dams could benefit the environment. Beaver dams create wetlands and wildlife habitat, improve stream flows in late summer and fall, and prevent flooding.
The largest grant is for the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District in Whatcom County to help develop a groundwater aquifer as a new regional water supply in the Nooksack River Basin. The grant will fund a water banking study and construction of groundwater monitoring wells.
“These grants help watershed planners avoid future problems in river basins where there are competing demands on scarce water resources,” said Water Resources Program Manager Tom Loranger. “These projects also support local jobs and growth by giving communities more tools to meet water needs and more certainty about water availability.”
Dan Partridge, communications, 360-407-7139, @ecologyWA