Many in the Washington Ag community are frustrated with the Department of Ecology. The state Department of Ecology recently announced it has appointed public employees to represent agriculture on committees that will chart the future allocation of water in seven river basins. The move upset many, including the Washington Farm Bureau, which said the seats were established for active farmers.
As Capital Press points out, environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the Center for Environmental Law and Policy are on the committees. To represent agricultural interests, Ecology picked staff members from conservation districts or King County’s agriculture program.
Back in 2018, lawmakers created these committees as part of the “Hirst fix”. In eight of the state’s 49 watersheds, Ecology has set up “restoration and enhancement committees” to write plans to benefit fish and make up for new wells. The plans are due June 30, 2021, and could affect water rights, groundwater withdrawals, domestic wells and the use of floodplains.
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