- Master Topics
(by last edit)
- Salish Sea References
- Wiki Rules
- What Links To This Page?
This master topic considers the requirements, history, funding sources, and social-political drivers of watershed planning. This includes a variety of efforts and programs over the years to better define how human settlement is organized in the landscape--what is protected and what is permitted to be damaged. Some elements of watershed planning may occur within a Jurisdiction where work is completed by Local Governments as required under state laws, such as the Growth Management Act and the Shoreline Management Act. However this page is concerned with efforts that plan in ecological systems using natural boundaries, like those organized within Watershed Resource Inventory Areas, that cross jurisdictional lines. Salmon Recovery planning has been an important nexus for watershed planning. However the state Watershed Planning Act of 1997 precedes the listing of Chinook Salmon in Puget Sound, and The Hirst Decision and Streamflow Restoration resulting in the Streamflow Restoration Law of 2018 has become a driver in renewed local planning at the WRIA scale. These authorities generally place watershed planning activity within the Washington State Department of Ecology in alignment with interrelated authorities concerning Water Supply and Water Quality. These activities are often supported by Environmental Protection Agency with the National Estuary Program providing significant federal resources. This topic organizes links to describe the range of watershed planning efforts in Washington State, focused on watershed units, and outside of Salmon Recovery
- The Hirst Decision and the Streamflow Restoration Law has resulted in program development at Ecology. https://ecology.wa.gov/Water-Shorelines/Water-supply/Streamflow-restoration
- Watershed planning prompted by The Law required Jurisdictions to complete higher resolution analysis of planned future development.
- The Watershed Planning Act resulted in 33 adopted watershed plans. https://ecology.wa.gov/Water-Shorelines/Water-supply/Streamflow-restoration/Watershed-plan-archive
- It is unclear whether and how watershed plans lead to changes in protection or restoration at the jurisdiction level. Pcereghino (talk)
- Comprehensive Plan development, Shoreline Master Programs, and plans associated with Storm and Surface Water Drainage Utilities, or implementation of Total Maximum Daily Load analysis also affect decisions, in ways that may be more proximate than more generalized planning.
- Plans may be most impactful when they drive funding, which requires an understanding of the dynamics of Puget Sound Ecosystem Funding.
Regional Resource Development
- Puget Sound Characterization Project developed a Puget Sound-wide model of watershed condition, designed to support local governments.
Significant Planning Efforts
The following four planning efforts describe large scale strategy development that informs funding decisions. Strategies
- Total Maximum Daily Load - In the realm of Water Quality, Total Maximum Daily Load studies are completed by Ecology in response to 303(d) Listing when a waterway has impaired water quality. These studies result in modelling and landscape analysis, usually at a watershed scale, that serves as Best Available Science for the purposes of subsequent planning efforts. However funding and staffing to complete TMDL studies are very limited (what is the current rate or level?). Referencing a TMDL may justify funding under the Water Quality Combined Funding Program
- Salmon Recovery Planning (USA) - the listing of Pacific Salmon and other marine species under the Endangered Species Act has led to watershed-based planning. Initial efforts were conducted by Watershed Resource Inventory Area, leading to formation of Lead Entities and Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB) in Puget Sound.
- Comprehensive Plans (USA) - Under the Growth Management Act, local Jurisdictions are required to accommodate population growth while protecting public trust resources. This work generates a comprehensive plan document, local ordinances, zoning, and Critical Areas Regulations.
- Puget Sound Action Agenda (USA) - Puget Sound has been identified as an estuary of national interest under the EPA National Estuary Program, which generates federal funding to support a designated authority, the Puget Sound Partnership. This small state agency convenes a nest of boards, and formulates planning process, through a set of Local Integrating Organizations and with strategies defined by a set of Strategic Initiative Leads. These leads are organized around three topics: Habitat, Shellfish, and Stormwater
- Hazard Mitigation Planning