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Washington Water Watch: March Edition

Dear Friends,

It has now been over a year since the start of the pandemic, and all our lives have changed. We hope you and your loved ones have stayed safe and well. All of us at CELP have adapted to our new normal of working remotely and spending a lot of our time in Zoom meetings. But even with these challenges, we have been able to continue our important work to protect and restore Washington’s waters. We have participated in watershed restoration work groups finding solutions to restore stream flows impaired by new permit exempt wells, and we continue working with stakeholders to find solutions to water speculation and improve the water trust and banking systems.

We have also taken this time to find inspiration and think about how CELP accomplishes our mission of protecting, preserving, and restoring waters across the state now and into the future. We envision a water management system in Washington state that is more equitable and sustainable to support healthy ecosystems, thriving fish and wildlife, and robust communities. These are big goals, but with your help, we are ready to do the work.

In this issue you’ll find a wrap up of Clean & Abundant Water lobby week, an update on the legislative session, the Nooksack Indian Tribe and Lummi Nation’s webinar on adjudication, CELP’s letter to Ecology with concerns over Crown Columbia’s application for an area-wide water permit, water and fish in the news, and appreciation for our members.

Sincerely,

Trish Rolfe

Executive Director

Read the full newsletter here.


Employment Opportunity: Water Policy Outreach Coordinator

CELP is hiring a Water Policy Outreach Coordinator.

Water Policy Outreach Coordinator

Part-time: 20 hours per week

Water Policy Outreach Coordinator will work closely with CELP’s ED, Staff Attorney, Government Affairs Specialist and Board to build public support to accomplish program goals by coordinating community engagement to influence water policy change.

Duties include the following:

Works with the director to devise and recommend a plan and strategy for organizing and engaging volunteers and community allies.

Identifies recruits and organizes volunteers

Develops and implements a variety of engagement strategies including on-line and face-to-face to develop networks to support CELP goals.

Maintains and develops new partnerships with affinity groups who share many common goals and values. 

Develop relationships with community leaders, tribes, other organizations and officials who can influence water policy change.

Plan and implement community outreach events to generate public support with agency decision makers and in the media.

Identifies and is responsible for developing strong relationships with key people of influence including community leaders and public officials to influence positive campaign or program outcomes.

Coordinates and measures success of activities with manager and campaign or program leads to ensure progress towards mission and goals.

Performs administrative and clerical duties as assigned by supervisor.

Performs miscellaneous duties as directed.

Requirements, Knowledge & Skills:

  • 4-year degree preferred.
  • At least 1-year experience working with volunteers in the environmental movement, political campaigns, or other, similar organizations to plan and implement grassroots campaigns.
  • Basic knowledge of current environmental issues affecting Washington.  
  • Excellent writing and editing skills. 
  • Demonstrated skill in writing and producing newsletters.
  • On-line organizing experience is a plus.
  • Passion for the environment and a belief in the power of community organizing and policy advocacy.
  • Excellent verbal communication skills and demonstrated ability to clearly articulate ideas and easily strike up conversation with diverse groups of people.
  • Strong organizational and problem-solving skills and ability to work effectively in action-oriented office.
  • Ability to work independently, cooperatively and effectively with public, staff and volunteers. Strong ability to network, build trust, and build working relationships.
  • Ability to be flexible and responsive in a fast-paced and changing environment
  • Ability to think strategically and plan programs and campaigns and to collaborate effectively with others
  • Access to reliable transportation and willingness to accommodate community-based scheduling needs (i.e. meetings held in the evenings and on weekends at offsite locations)
  • Valid driver’s license, satisfactory driving record, and proof of auto insurance required.
  • Proficient computer skills including Microsoft Office, social networking sites, and database software.

The CELP office is in Seattle, however current COVID restrictions will require most work to be done remotely. Once restrictions are lifted a large portion of the job will be traveling around the state to relevant communities and locations.

$16.75 – $17 per hour plus accrued vacation and sick leave. Travel allowance and transit benefit available. 

E-mail cover letter, resume, and references to Trish Rolfe, trolfe@celp.org by May 15, 2021. Please, no phone inquiries.

CELP is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair and equal treatment of its employees and constituents regardless of differences based on culture, socioeconomic status, race, marital or family situation, gender, age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, physical ability, or sexual orientation. CELP encourages BIPOC and LGBTQ applicants to apply.


Washington Water Watch: Jan. & Feb. Edition

February 16th 2021 

Happy New Year! We are starting the new year with a new administration, and with it hope for federal progress on clean and abundant water, strengthening tribal treaty rights, and modernizing the Columbia River Treaty.  

Photo of a winding road through snow and trees taken from an aerial view.

Here at home, we started the year with an atmospheric river soaking the pacific northwest. Seattle had the wettest start to the year in history. Olympia and Hoquiam also broke rainfall records in the first few days of the year. Now in February, snowstorms have moved across the state blanketing Seattle and the Puget Sound area. Snowpack in the Olympics and Cascades are at normal or slightly above normal levels. This is all good news for our stream flows for now. 

Everyone at CELP wants to say a big THANK YOU to all of our supporters. We know 2020 was a difficult year for many people, organizations and businesses and we are immensely grateful for your donations, time, ideas, and dedication to protecting our waters. With your support, we were able to face challenges head on and continue our work protecting our waters. We look forward to what we will accomplish this year together.

In this issue you’ll find introductions of our new board members and changes in board leadership, information on the 2021 legislative session and the bills we are tracking, salmon in the news, Rachael Osborn’s paper reflecting on the Water Resources Act of 1971, a call for applications for our 2021 legal internship, and congratulations to our 2020 Water Hero honoree and longtime friend Bob Anderson. 

We are hopeful for the future. As we move forward this year, our priorities are getting Streamflow Restoration Plans approved and getting water restoration and mitigation projects in these plans funded. We are also working to help get the adjudications of the Nooksack and Colville watersheds started and working with Ecology to restart instream flow setting for unprotected watersheds. These are big plans, but with your continued support we can make great strides to achieve them. 


Sincerely,

Trish Rolfe

Executive Director

trolfe@celp.org

Read the full newsletter here: https://conta.cc/3qstIii


Nooksack River Adjudication

What is an adjudication?

Sustainable management decisions about water, a precious shared resource, cannot be made without a baseline knowledge of water rights in a basin. Under Washington law, only a court can make a final determination of which water rights are valid. Adjudication is a court proceeding where the judge examines all water use in a river basin, and determines the extent and validity of water rights in that basin.

Why adjudicate the Nooksack?

The Nooksack is an important river system that supports native runs of wild chum, chinook, coho, and pink salmon, as well as other salmonids including bull trout and steelhead. Protecting the river, its salmon runs, and Tribal fishing rights requires that streamflows be protected. Like other rivers in Washington, diversions of water from the Nooksack threaten habitat for salmon. The Nooksack also appears to suffer more than many other rivers from illegal, unpermitted diversions of water.  By adjudicating water rights in the basin, the state can determine how much water is being legally used as well as gaining control of unpermitted (and illegal) diversions of water.

The Tribes with reserved fishing rights in WRIA 1 (the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Indian Tribe) have requested action by the Federal Government to judicially determine their reserved water rights, including water for instream flows to protect their rights to fish and in turn the habitat on which those rights depend.

What is CELP doing on this issue?

We urged the Department of Ecology to select the Nooksack River basin (WRIA 1) as the next Washington basin to be adjudicated. You can read our full letter here.

CELP is now supporting funding in the legislature (SB 5092 / HB 1094) to start the adjudication process for the Nooksack River basin. Find more on this year’s remote legislative session and the bills we are tracking here.


CELP Summer Internship

We are now accepting applications for a Summer 2021 Legal Intern. This position is located in CELP’s Seattle Office. Due to the ongoing Covid19 pandemic, we anticipate that the intern will be working remotely for at least the first part and likely all of the summer.

We seek a legal intern with a demonstrated interest in environmental issues to work on projects aimed at establishing protected instream flows.  Qualified candidates will have completed their 2L year by Spring 2020 and taken an environmental law course.  Coursework or clinical experience in administrative law is preferred. Exact internship dates are flexible depending on academic schedules, but generally run from June – August and last 10 weeks. Please email a CV, a writing sample, and references to Dan Von Seggern, Staff Attorney  at dvonseggern@celp.org 

Deadline for applications is March 15th.


Washington Water Watch: November Edition

As the year approaches its end, we have all had to rethink how we do many things including work, school, birthdays and holidays. But that hasn’t stopped us from doing our work to protect and restore our river flows through outreach, policy work and litigation. Much of the year we have been working through the watershed planning process to come up with plans to mitigate impairment of instream flows from permit exempt wells. This process has taken 2 years, but hopefully it will have a positive impact on our rivers.

 But there is so much we need to do. Many rivers and streams around the state still lack basic protections, and endangered salmon and steelhead still face an uphill battle for recovery in part because of high river temperatures as a result of low flows. And climate change will continue to challenge how we manage our water resources.

 In this issue you’ll find an update on dam removals and proposals in the Northwest, information on our CLE Winter Workshop now being hosted as three virtual workshops, Water Stories, Giving Tuesday, and the 7th annual One River, Ethics Matter conference. 

CELP has a great team to do this work, but we can’t do it alone. We rely on donations from our members and supporters, and this year a generous supporter has offered a match to all year end donations up to $5,000. You can help us reach our goal and end the year strong by donating on our secure website, www.celp.org

Sincerely,

Trish Rolfe,

Executive Director

Read the full Newsletter here.


Giving Tuesday- Give Back to our Waters

Giving Tuesday, a global day of generosity, is Dec. 1st. People all around the world are coming together to tap into the power of human connection and strengthen communities to change our world.

This Giving Tuesday, give back to our waters. Water connects us all and supports life.

I lean on water for therapy and healing, for recreation, to put groceries on my table, and to connect with other people — a particularly difficult challenge for me. Water indicates the health of our planet, or lack thereof. So if water does so much for us, what do we do for water? -Bridget Moran

With your support, CELP continues our work as Washington’s water watchdog protecting, preserving, and restoring waters across our state. We imagine a future with sustainable water supplies to support healthy ecosystems, thriving fish and wildlife, and robust communities. You can give to create that future now.

This year a generous supporter will match donations up to a $5,000 total. Help protect Washington’s waters.

Make a donation here.

We are incredibly grateful for our community, partners, supporters, volunteers, board and staff. This year, our work would not have been possible without everyone’s support and dedication to protecting our waters.
In the spirit of the giving season, we want to highlight some organizations who inspire us. We encourage you to support these places on Giving Tuesday to protect our environment and create a better future for Washington!

Save Our Wild Salmon 

Zero Waste Washington

Futurewise

Puget Soundkeeper Alliance

RE Sources

Columbia RiverKeeper


Washington Water Watch: August Edition

Dear friends of CELP,

As the summer winds down in this crazy year, I hope you all got a chance to get out and recreate on Washington’s amazing rivers and streams, a great way to recharge from the stress we are all experiencing. These waters are the life blood of Washington that should be protected and celebrated by all. But sadly, there are many who only see our waterways as a resource to be exploited harming fish and the public who rely on them. The impacts from Climate Change are only making a dire situation even worse. 

That’s why CELP continues our important work to protect, preserve, and restore Washington’s waters now and for future generations. But we can’t do it alone. We rely heavily on support from individuals like you, so if you are able please support CELP’s important work by donating on our website: www.celp.org

In spite of our work, sometimes our efforts fail, and that happened with our challenge to the flawed summer flow in the Spokane River Instream Flow Rule. The State Supreme Court ruled against us, and now the people and businesses in Spokane are the real losers. The Department of Ecology can now issue water rights that will drop the flow in the river to drought levels during the summer, making recreation on the river almost impossible.

In this issue you will find more information on this State Supreme Court ruling, Governor Inslee’s letters pausing the proposed Chehalis River dam, a bio of Celebrate Water’s guest speaker, the American Water Resource Association’s state conference event, and more. 

I also want to send out a big thank you to all of our Celebrate Waters Sponsors. They play a huge role in helping us do our important work!

 Sincerely, 

Trish Rolfe

Executive Director

trolfe@celp.org

PS. Please tune into Celebrate Waters Virtual event on September 17th and stay safe!

Read the Full Newsletter: https://conta.cc/2EQvkQg


Washington Water Watch: June 2020 Edition

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear friends of CELP,
We hope you are all staying safe and healthy. As CELP staff continues into its fourth month of working from home, we continue to stay focused on our mission, but our work continues to change as this crisis continues. Our outreach has changed considerably as we say goodbye to our Outreach Coordinator of three years, Nick Manning, who just graduated from the Evans School of Public Policy at the University of Washington and has moved on to fight climate change with another organization. Congratulation Nick, and good luck in your new job. We have also had to change our outreach plans as all the events and programs that we had on our calendar for the summer were canceled because of COVID-19. Going forward we will be transitioning to virtual outreach events and reaching out by phone and email to continue to do this important work, please feel free to reach out to us if you want to join us in protecting Washington’s water resources. Our legal and policy work continue with virtual hearings and meetings. 

CELP continues this important work to protect, preserve, and restore Washington’s waters now for future generations because our water resources face tremendous challenges. The impacts from Climate Change and increased development have impaired our rivers and streams, and the fish and wildlife that depend on them. But we can’t do it alone. We rely heavily on support from individuals like you, so if you are able please support CELP’s important work by donating on our website, www.celp.org.


In this issue you will find an update on the Spokane River Instream Flow Rule case, a BIG thank you, our Chehalis River dam proposal comments, an introduction to our 2020 interns, our 2019 annual report, and information on our upcoming Celebrate Water event.

Sincerely, 

Trish Rolfe

Executive Director

trolfe@celp.org

Read the Full Newsletter: https://conta.cc/38f5vnf


Watch as CELP argues our case before the Washington State Supreme Court: Spokane River Instream Flow Rule

CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL LAW & POLICY, AMERICAN WHITEWATER, and SIERRA CLUB,
          Respondents,

    v.
STATE OF WASHINGTON, DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY,
          Petitioner.
Dan Von Seggern
Ted Howard
Andrew Hawley



Hon. Bob Ferguson
  Stephen H. North
  Clifford Hiroshi Kato

When: The case will be heard on May 14th 2020 at 9:00am
How to View: Anyone can watch the case on TVW.org here

Background: The Spokane River’s Instream Flow Rule (WAC Chapter 173-557) was adopted in 2015.  

Instream flow rules are intended to protect a wide variety of instream values and uses, including fish & wildlife, recreation, navigation, and aesthetic values. In adopting the Spokane River Rule, Ecology considered only the needs of fish and adopted a summer flow of 850 cubic feet per second. This is a near-drought level for the river and would be devastating to whitewater rafting, kayaking and other recreational uses of the Spokane.

In 2016, along with American Whitewater and the Sierra Club, we filed a challenge to the Rule’s summer instream flow. We argued the state was required to consider all uses of the river, not just habitat needs of fish, in adopting instream flow rules. The challenge was initially denied in the Thurston County Superior Court.

In 2017, we appealed the Superior Court’s decision to the Court of Appeals, Division II. In 2019, the court ruled in favor of CELP and the Spokane River advocates, finding that Ecology failed to protect summertime flows needed by the river and other instream flow values.

Ecology requested review of the Court of Appeal’s decision by the Washington State Supreme Court, which accepted the case. CELP Staff Attorney Dan Von Seggern will argue our case before the Court on May 14th, 2020. We will continue to fight for an instream flow rule that protects the Spokane River and its users.