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Washington Water Watch November 2023

It's Gratitude Season

As the end of the year approaches CELP’s staff and board are starting to assess how things went in 2023, and what challenges and opportunities we will face in the coming year. We are also celebrating our success in protecting and restoring our water resources in the legislature and the courts.

Last week CELP staff had the opportunity to attend the Rise Up Northwest convening of tribes, nonprofits, and other partners to address the protection and preservation of water, salmon, and orca. This two-day event focused on education, cultural awareness, and the exchange of ideas to address how to formulate solutions and strategies to address these challenges. It was a powerful and moving experience, and a call to arms to do more to right the wrongs of the past and work to stop the extinction of the salmon and orca and protect our water resources for future generations.

That’s where CELP comes in. We are fighting to make Washington’s water management system more sustainable and equitable. The courts have affirmed that the tribes that signed treaties have the most senior water rights, but, for the most part, they have not been quantified or recognized. The state is in the process of adjudicating tribal water rights in the Nooksack and Lake Rosevelt watersheds, but more needs to be done.

But we can’t do it alone. With support from donors like you, we will continue our work to protect and restore our rivers, modernize Washington’s water policies, and educate Washingtonians about what steps they can take to protect our water resources. If you haven’t already, please consider joining us today!


Trish Rolfe

Executive Director

CELP Staff Attend Rise Up Northwest Summit at Tulalip

NW tribal partners and environmental allies gathered to address the current needs of water, orca, and salmon in a two-day summit focused on education, cultural awareness, and the exchange of ideas.

CELP Executive Director Trish Rolfe, and Development and Outreach Coordinator, Robyn Lynn joined the gathering to listen and learn as tribes discussed the importance of salmon restoration across the PNW and Columbia Basin and the necessity of removing four lower Snake River Dams.

Read more about the R.U.N conference on our blog here.

CELP Receives Swinomish Grant

CELP was recently awarded a $5000 grant from the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. We are honored by this gift which will help sustain our work to protect streamflows and treaty water rights. Thank you, Swinomish!

Despite recent rains, drought conditions persist throughout most of the state due to the large moisture deficit we entered fall with. The greater Seattle area has seen its reservoirs rise as much as 8 feet in November, but consumers are still being asked to voluntarily cut back on water use.

The drought designation for the state is expected to be in place until June, though a wetter-than-expected winter could change that. Current oceanic conditions are shaping a strong El Nino pattern, which means drier and warmer conditions and continued drought for 2024.

Read more about current drought conditions at

It is the season of giving, which also means telling our supporters how grateful we are!

We are a small but mighty organization, and with the help of supporters like you, we’ve been working on Washington’s water issues for 30 years! Unlike many nonprofit organizations, over 80% of our funding goes directly to supporting our programs. That means our supporters are directly helping to craft new laws and policies, enforce existing rules, and speak up on behalf of the human and non-human species that rely on healthy streamflows and abundant surface and groundwater supplies. We can’t do this work without you and are so grateful you share our concern for the health of our waterways.

But we are also struggling. Foundation giving has changed dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving us relying on individual giving more than ever. We need more members to help us grow our legal and conservation outreach programs. And we need more members across the state in order to show policymakers that the communities they represent care about water use and availability, streamflows, tribal treaty rights, and healthy salmon populations.

CELP is the only Washington organization that ensures our water policies protect habitats and species, streamflows, and treaty water rights. We ensure state agencies use the latest science in making decisions and that our laws and policies are updated to address the realities of climate change. Without us, corporate interests will continue to take what they like without concern for the health of the waterways, and state agencies will allow streamflows to disappear.

We need to be here. And we need you to join us.

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