Happy New Year, Friends! CELP is entering 2022 focused on our mission to protect, preserve, and restore Washington’s waters.
It has been a difficult couple years between the pandemic and increasing climate disasters. We hope you have been staying safe. The year started with extreme winter storms. Extensive rain and snow caused flooding, avalanches, and road closures. As the climate warms, storms increase in intensity.
We are ready to tackle water and climate issues. CELP’s priorities for 2022 are protecting and restoring adequate, healthy streamflows, honoring tribal rights and partnering with Tribes on water issues, adding and increasing water use efficiency standards and water conservation efforts, advocating for sustainable and equitable water policies and management, and increasing collaboration on water issues.
Our year is off to a busy start with a short legislative session. We are working hard in Olympia to stop bad water policies and pass bills that protect our water resources and salmon.
We have accomplished a lot to protect our waters with the help of our supporters. You can help protect our waters by signing up for lobby week, contacting your legislators, sharing CELP’s work and posts, and supporting our work by making a donation today.
In this issue you will find information on our 4th annual Clean & Abundant Water Lobby Week, additional CELP priority bills, a study linking low water flows and low salmon returns, an introduction of our newest CELP board member, a posting for CELP’s summer legal internship, an article on how climate change impacts snow patterns, and water and fish news.
We are wishing you very happy holidays and hope you are doing well!
This year, as we all continued to be impacted by the COVID pandemic, CELP went through some big changes and accomplished exciting victories. We welcomed two new staff members, Maggie Franquemont as Staff Attorney, and Hillary Jasper Rose as Water Policy & Outreach Coordinator. We have adopted a hybrid working style as we build our team and the world continues to largely run over Zoom.
With the help of an incredible support system we achieved great things in 2021. CELP successfully encouraged the Department of Ecology to select the Nooksack River Basin (WRIA 1) as well as the Roosevelt Lake and middle tributaries (WRIA 58) as the next Washington basins to be adjudicated in coordination with the Nooksack Indian Tribe and Lummi Nation. We hosted our 3rd annual Clean & Abundant Water Lobby day as a virtual week long event helping pass bills for funding river basin adjudication, reducing plastic pollution, preventing seabed mining, and water re-use. CELP helped get a Watershed plan for WRIA 9 approved that would replace water used by new permit exempt well in the Green River watershed. We protected the Skagit River by submitting comments to Ecology in support of their denial of the proposed Golden Eagle water permit. We reached a settlement with the EPA on the Spokane River PCB levels. CELP also submitted comments to Ecology urging reform of Water Banking and the Trust Water Rights programs to curb water rights speculation.
We have accomplished a lot to protect our rivers. As we wrap up the year and look forward to our work in 2022, CELP has big goals. We plan to not only continue our work protecting waters in Washington but take a more proactive role in restoring our waters and fighting for more sustainable and equitable water policies and management. You can help protect our waters by making an end of year gift to CELP. We are incredibly thankful to have met our $10,000 goal and match! Now our loyal supporter is increasing their donation to match donations dollar for dollar up to $15,000. Help us reach our new goal and be ready to tackle the legislative session and year ahead. You can also help further our mission by sharing our work with your friends and family.
You make our work protecting, preserving, and restoring waters in Washington possible! We are incredibly thankful for our supporters, members, partners, Board of Directors, volunteers, sponsors, staff, and community. Thank you for your dedication to protecting our water resources.
In this issue you will find an update on the Spokane River PCB case with a call to action, our comments on an Airway Heights water right application, information on the Salmon Recovery Plan, our thoughts on Puget Sound Partnership’s State of the Sound report, an article on water speculation, water and fish news, a recap on our Celebrate Water event, an announcement that we postponed our CLE workshop series with new dates TBA, and information on ways to support CELP.
Thank you to everyone who joined us in celebrating our waters and honoring Sharon Haensly and Kimberly Ordon. It was CELP’s pleasure to present Sharon and Kimberly with the Ralph W. Johnson Water Hero Award. We are incredibly thankful for their work protecting waters, natural resources, and tribal rights.
Sharon has practiced law since 1988. She has a Bachelors of Science degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University (1981), and a law degree from the University of Oregon (1988). She has been a staff attorney with the Squaxin Island Tribe’s Legal Department since 2009. Before that, Sharon was a staff attorney for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and worked at several Seattle law firms that represent Indian tribes.
Kimberly Ordon (KO)
Kimberly Ordon is a graduate of the University of Colorado (BA 1976; MA 1980) and of Lewis & Clark Law School (JD 1985). Kimberly started her legal career representing tribes at the Native American Program of Oregon Legal Services in Portland, Oregon. In 1986 she received a Reginald Heber Smith (Reggie) Fellowship through Howard University to continue her work with tribes. While working with the Klamath Tribe, Kimberly began her career-long advocacy for tribal fishing rights. At the end of her Fellowship, she was invited by the Tulalip Tribes to continue the battle to protect salmon and their habitat. Kimberly happily served as an attorney for the Tulalip Tribes for over 30 years—the Best Job Ever—with great leadership and colleagues.
Sharon and Kimberly are incredible water protectors and their work embodies the vision of our founder Prof. Ralph W. Johnson and the connection between Water Law and Indian Law. Thank you Sharon and Kimberly for all you do to protect our waters!
Thank you to all who were able to join us in person at Ivar’s Salmon House for a lovely reception, delicious food, and great conversation. We enjoyed seeing everyone, even behind masks, and spending time with our community. Thank you!
Special shoutout to the Tulalip Tribes for being our presenting sponsor and to the Squaxin Island Tribe. A huge thank you to all our sponsors, attendees, and supporters. You make this event and our work possible! Together, we raised over $16,000 for CELP to continue our important work protecting waters in Washington and fighting for sustainable and equitable water policies and management. THANK YOU!
As the world’s leaders convened at COP26 to discuss actions to address climate changes, plans were finalized in the Okanagan for the annual One River, Ethics Matter (OREM) conference. This 8th annual ethics consultation for the Columbia River, Nov 17-18, will follow the White House Tribal Nations Summit on Nov 15-16, and precede Pope Francis’ visit to Canada “on a pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation” with Indigenous people.
The 2021 One River Ethics Matter conference is hosted by the Okanagan Nation Alliance and UBC Okanagan. This will be the eighth annual event and it will focus on the Indigenous-led work of the Syilx nation with kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓—restoring ntytyix (salmon)—to the Okanagan and Upper Columbia rivers.
The main objective of the two-day conference is to discuss the review process now underway to modernize the 57-year old Columbia River Treaty. Participants include traditional ecological knowledge keepers, environmental experts, along with academic and religious scholars from both sides of the 49th parallel.
Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, a Syilx knowledge keeper and UBCO associate professor who was recently appointed a Royal Society of Canada Scholar, will be one of several speakers at the event. Other leaders and panel experts include Grand Chief ʔaʔsiwɬ Stewart Phillip, who is president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis, University of Idaho Professor Emerita Barbara Cosens, along with Indigenous youth experts, historians, biologists, policy officials and Bishop Gregory Bittman of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pauline Terbasket, executive director of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, has been participating in the OREM conference since the first session in Spokane in 2014.
“These gatherings have been opportunities to feel the reality and impacts of colonization upon Indigenous Nations and the devastating impacts of the Columbia River Treaty. They also provide an opportunity to share stories that are familiar to all tribes along the Columbia River,” says Terbasket. “As the Indigenous people of the Columbia Basin, we are all salmon people, tied to the river for sustenance and to carry our responsibilities to care for all our lands, resources and peoples as we have since time immemorial.”
The OREM conference series is an ethics consultation process for improving the quality of ethical decision-making for the Columbia River.
Lesley Cormack, UBC Okanagan’s deputy vice-chancellor and vice-principal, will provide opening remarks at the event.
“For many generations, the Columbia River basin has supported a diverse ecosystem that breathes life into our natural environment across western Canada and the United States,” says Cormack. “We share an important responsibility to support Indigenous peoples as the caretakers and stewards of these lands and ensure that the Columbia River continues to sustain life for many generations to come.”
Salmon have been blocked from reaching Canada’s Upper Columbia River after the Grand Coulee Dam was built in Washington State some 80 years ago. In 1964, Canada and the United States implemented the Columbia River Treaty to develop the hydroelectric potential of the Columbia River Basin and to manage flood risk.
Grounded in respectful dialogue the conference is a part of the Ethics and Treaty Project, which aims to increase public understanding of the Columbia River Treaty and provide an interdisciplinary forum to discuss shared stewardship of the river in the face of climate change. Alternating between the United States and Canada, the conference is jointly hosted by an Indigenous sovereign nation and an academic institution.
The 2021 OREM conference is free and open to the public. More information can be found at: riverethics.org
CELP will be hosting our annual winter Continuing Legal Education (CLE) workshop as a virtual series. We will host three 2-hour sessions covering municipal water law. The three sessions include, Municipal Water Law Overview & Compromises, Municipalities and their Inchoate Rights, and Municipal Water Use Efficiency & Conservation.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the few sunny October days and are doing well. During the rainy season, don’t be tricked into thinking we don’t have water supply issues. We will hear forecasts of endless days of rain, but it is important to remember to keep conversations on water use efficiency and conservation going. We still need to protect our water resources. It is also important to be prepared for floods and have an emergency kit for storms and power outages.
The climate is warming and our weather patterns and natural disasters are going to be more extreme. Over time we will have even wetter winters, but more precipitation will fall as rain rather than snow. Less snowpack will exacerbate water issues in the summer. Summers will continue to get drier and drought and fire season, longer. The west is already facing a megadrought. Timing is everything.
We need to take this time of year to think about how we can affect water policy in the coming legislative session, what we can do on a local level to increase conservation efforts, and how we can bring people together to create more equitable water management.
With the end of the year approaching, we are excited to be hosting our Celebrate Water reception and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) workshop series. We are thrilled to be planning Celebrate Water as an in-person event and truly hope to see you soon.
In this issue you will find an update on the Golden Eagle/Darrington water permit application, an article on conservation in water management at different levels, information on a huge Clean Water Act victory, a survey on email communication, water and fish news, details on Celebrate Water and our CLE workshops, registration for the One River, Ethics Matter conference, and ways to support CELP’s work protecting Washington’s waters.
Dear friends, As we are finally starting to see rain again, we reflect on a surprising water year. Hydrologist track and measure water on a different time cycle than a standard calendar year. A water year is measured from October 1st through September 30th. As a new water year is about to start we look back to see what patterns might continue. This summer showed us that even in years with great winter and spring snowpack, our waters are in trouble. With extreme heat and parched land, snowpack melted quickly. Areas that don’t rely on snowpack, but rather precipitation, are in even more trouble since they received below average precipitation for much of the year. As drought seasons become longer and temperatures warmer, this pattern will continue. Low flows, warm rivers, dry wells, and more will continue to be bigger issues for everyone. CELP will continue to work for better water management and not let progress towards water conservation and water use efficiency take the back burner during the rainy season. More needs to be done for our waters. We all rely on healthy, abundant waterways. 10 years ago in September the world’s largest dam removal project was started on the Elwha River. Dam removal has helped restore the estuary, river, and wildlife but recovery is ongoing. Now as more dams projects are proposed, CELP continues to fight for our rivers, fish, and treaty rights. We are working to help stop the Chehalis River dam project and encourage alternative approaches for flood management. Our waters need protected for salmon, the environment, and our communities. In this issue you will find an introduction to CELP’s newest Board Members, an update on the Chehalis River, Information on Ecology’s grants, water and fish news, and upcoming events. Sincerely, Trish Rolfe, Executive Director
As the dry, hot weather continues, we are increasing water conservation efforts, protecting streamflows, and keeping an eye on our water resources.
Drought and fire season started early, putting our water resources in dire shape. Fifty-nine percent of the state is in severe to exceptional drought. King5 reported by mid-August, Washington and Oregon had already seen more than 20 times more land burned by wildfires this year than by mid-August last year. More needs to be done to protect our waters and adapt to our changing climate.
We are also keeping an eye on COVID-19 and taking necessary precautions to keep our staff and community safe. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on our survey about attending events. We decided it was prudent to reschedule Celebrate Water. The new date is December 9th. We are hopeful circumstances will improve and we will be able to celebrate at Ivar’s Salmon House then.
CELP was greatly saddened to hear about the passing of Lorraine Loomis. Our hearts go out to her family, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and all who had the honor of knowing her.
In this issue you will find our latest comments to Ecology, our 2020 Annual Report, a tribute to Lorraine Loomis, information on water shortages in the West, Water & Fish News, and event details for Celebrate Water, the One River, Ethics Matter Conference, and AWRA-WA’s Annual Conference.
In light of the delta variant spreading and with feedback from our community, Board of Directors, and staff, we decided it was prudent to reschedule Celebrate Water. The safety of our community is our first priority. We are hopeful that by postponing we will be able to gather in person at Ivar’s Salmon House in December. We cannot wait to celebrate with you on December 9th.
Celebrate Water will present the Ralph W. Johnson Water Hero Award to retired Tribal Attorneys Sharon Haensly and Kimberly Ordon to honor their careers protecting natural resources and tribal interests. We will celebrate victories for our waters and discuss water issues.
We will be hosting our annual all day Continuing Legal Education (CLE) workshop prior to the evening Celebrate Water reception. More information on the workshops coming soon.
EDIT: The newsletter includes a save the date for Celebrate Waters. The date has since changed to September 9th.
As we approach summer, we at CELP are keeping an eye on our water resources. This winter and spring we received plenty of snow that resulted in a heavy snowpack. Snowpack is a critical frozen reservoir that is released over the spring and summer as it melts. This spring much of the state has had warmer temperatures and below normal precipitation. Even with our current snowpack, there is concern that it will not last through the driest parts of the summer. Soil moisture is also an indicator of how much snowpack makes it into the rivers. In dry conditions the soil acts as a sponge and less snowmelt is added to stream flows. For our rivers that rely on precipitation more than snowpack there is even greater concern.
The Department of Ecology issued a drought advisory the end of May for most of Washington state, including all areas east of the Cascade Mountains, portions of southwest Washington and the Washington coast. The advisory acts as an early warning of possible drought to promote awareness and readiness. This is the first time the Department of Ecology has issued a drought advisory since it received the authority to do so from the Legislature in 2020. In the 2020 legislative session, CELP supported and advocated for Ecology’s drought preparedness bill. We are hopeful this action improves awareness among water users and increases readiness to respond to drought and conserve water.
As we all come out of the long COVID lock down, change and growth are coming to CELP. We are thrilled to introduce our new Water Policy Outreach Coordinator as well as our new Legal Intern. We are looking forward to them bringing new energy and ideas to our work. While we have adapted to working remotely, we are excited to be going back into the office soon and getting to work as a team in person. And this month we say goodbye to a long-time employee, our staff attorney Dan Von Seggern. We wish Dan the best in his new position, and we are excited to add a new staff attorney.
In this issue you will find an update on our legislative success, an update on watershed restoration plans, a welcome to our new team members, water and fish in the news, a GiveBIG thank you, and a save the date for Celebrate Waters.