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WRIA 54 Watershed Study History / Background

Watershed Planning in Washington State started in late 1998 with the enactment of House Bill 2514 (RCW 90.82). The legislation splits the state into sixty-two geographic Water Resource Inventory Areas (WRIAs) or watersheds. Within each WRIA, the Initiating Governments; which are the largest city in the WRIA, any county with territory in the WRIA, the largest water purveyor in the WRIA and any tribe in the WRIA must be invited to participate. The Initiating Agencies elect one of the Initiating Agencies to be the Lead Agency that applies for the Department of Ecology grants and contracts with any subcontractors needed to conduct the work. Spokane County is the Lead Agency for WRIA 54.

Watershed Planning consists of evaluating water quantity in a WRIA. The Planning Unit may pursue optional areas of investigation that are also funded by the Department of Ecology such as instream flow assessment, multi-purpose water storage assessment and water quality assessment. The WRIA 54 Planning Unit chose to conduct all three optional investigations.

The WRIA 54 Planning Unit has developed several operational necessities such as; Operating Procedures (includes a code of conduct), Planning Unit Roster, and is currently working on finalizing a mission statement and goals.

September 2005 the WRIA 54 Steering Committee was formed that meets every month two weeks before the Planning Unit meeting. The Steering Committee acts as a clearing house for issues and ideas that are brought before the Planning Unit each month.

In July, TetraTech/KCM and their team of technical consultants finished the draft Technical Assessment Report (Phase 2 Level 1 data compilation and assessment). It is available for public review and comment until October 27, 2006. Comments can be submitted to Spokane County by email to bgilmour@spokanecounty.org or mail to Spokane County Utilities, Water Resources Department, 1026 West Broadway Avenue, Spokane, WA 99260.

The instream flow study for the Lower Spokane River was initiated by TetraTech/KCMs subcontractor EESC in March 2006. An additional instream flow grant for study on parts of the Middle Spokane River was initiated at the same time in cooperation with the WRIA 54 instream flow assessment. The field data has been collected and a draft report for public review is anticipated by early spring 2007.

A multi-purpose water storage work group (MSG) was formed in July 2006 that has met monthly developing a scope of work for the grant application. Discussion of potential multi-purpose storage projects for WRIA 54 has been initiated by the MSG and a grant application for submittal to the Department of Ecology is anticipated by October 2006.

The WRIA 54 Planning Unit has not formed a water quality optional element work group yet to prepare a grant application for submittal to the Department of Ecology. The water quality work group is expected to be organized in late 2006 or early 2007.

Click here for an explanation of the Phases of Watershed Planning. As of Summer,2006, WRIA 54 is in Phase 2.

Additional WRIA 54 Watershed Planning Documents
WRIA 54 Planning Unit Operating Procedures
Phase II Scope of Work
Memorandum of Agreement between Initiating Agencies and Governments
Frequently Asked Questions about Watershed Planning