Hirst Decision and Streamflow Restoration
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The Hirst Decision references a case in the Washington State Supreme Court in 2016. Senior water rights holders in Whatcom County contested whether permit exempt wells, allowed for rural residential development, would have an impact on their water rights. The county was unable to demonstrate an understanding of the impact, and rural development was paralyzed. This resulted in partisan conflict in the 2018 state legislative session, and ultimately passage of the Streamflow Restoration Law and creation of the new Stream Flow Restoration Program and a reinvigoration of Watershed Planning.
- Ecology summary and related information - https://ecology.wa.gov/Water-Shorelines/Water-supply/Water-rights/Case-law/Hirst-decision
- "Washington State Supreme Court said that water is not legally available if a new well would impact a protected river or stream, or an existing senior water right" -Ecology 2021
- The Hirst Decision is an indicator of how legal precedent strongly shapes both ecosystem policy and funding. Pcereghino (talk)