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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. 


Washington Water Watch: March/April Edition

Arianna Signorini

Dear friends of CELP,

We wanted to check in with you. We hope you are staying safe and healthy. All of us at CELP are happy to connect with you during this time. We are fortunate to be working from home and would love to find ways to talk with our supporters, share ideas, and interact with our community.

We are facing an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 outbreak. We have all been impacted and we understand that it is a difficult time for everyone.  Our priority is the safety of our staff, their families, and our community. We are navigating the situation to the best of our ability and continue to work to protect, preserve, and restore Washington’s waters now and for future generations. 

CELP continues to do this work because our water resources also 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. 

We understand it is a stressful time for everyone. If you have the capacity to renew your membership or make a donation we greatly appreciate your contribution. Above all we want to stay connected to you, our community, and our common goal of protecting our waters. Our hard work would not be possible without you. You can use our secure website, www.celp.org, to support CELP’s work.

We also want to encourage you to support your local businesses and restaurants, front line workers, other nonprofits, and each other during this difficult time. Together we are stronger.

In this issue you will find a wrap up of the legislative session, a recap of Winter Waters, and information on GiveBIG Washington, our 25th anniversary, Celebrate Water’s new date, and water stories. 

 Sincerely, 

Trish Rolfe

Executive Director

trolfe@celp.org

Read the full newsletter: https://conta.cc/34rO68R


CELP Summer Internship

Skagit River. Taken by Brian Walsh

We are accepting applications for a Summer 2020 Legal Intern at our Seattle office.

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 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 90 days. 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: January 2020 Edition

Dear friends of CELP,


Happy New Year everyone! CELP is entering 2020 focused on our mission to protect, preserve, and restore Washington’s waters. 


This year we will continue our outreach to connect people to the impacts of climate change and water scarcity issues. We will continue to act in the community, participate in streamflow restoration workgroups, work with Native American Tribes to honor and support their treaty rights and tribal fisheries, and advocate for sustainable instream flows. When our water is threatened we will use litigation to protect and defend Washington’s rivers and drinking water aquifers.


We are starting the year strong and working hard in Olympia to protect Washington’s waters during the legislative session. Our hard work would not be possible without you. We rely on generous donations from our members and supporters to hold our lawmakers and agencies accountable for protecting Washington’s rivers and streams. Please consider helping us continue this important work by making a donation today!


In this issue you will find information about Snowpack levels, the 2020 Legislative Session, Clean and Abundant Water Lobby Day, the latest Columbia River Treaty town hall, a big thank you to the Kalispel Tribe and to all of our supporters, and upcoming events.

 Sincerely,

Trish Rolfe

Executive Director

trolfe@celp.org

Full Newsletter

Methow River. Elan Ebeling.

Washington Water Watch: November Edition

Photo: Kayla Jo Media

Dear friends of CELP,


As the year winds down, the state drought declaration for 27 watersheds remains in effect, expiring April 4th, 2020.  As winter approaches, snowpack levels continue to be less than average. These levels are critical to water supplies and replenishing aquifers. Our rivers and streams are already struggling to meet minimum instream flows, and climate change is further impacting our water supplies.


That’s why CELP has been working to protect and restore stream flows in watersheds around the state – work that is now more critical than ever. But we can’t do it alone. We rely on generous donations from our members and supporters to hold our lawmakers and agencies accountable for protecting Washington’s rivers and streams. Please consider helping us continue this important work by making a donation today!


In this issue, you will find information about the South Puget Sound chum run, CELP in the community, #GivingTuesday, and our Winter Continuing Legal Education workshop.

 Sincerely, 

Trish Rolfe

Executive Director

trolfe@celp.org

For Full Newsletter: https://conta.cc/2XEAEer


Remembering Pat Sumption

John & Rachael Osborn:

First, let us thank Pat’s three sons – David, Cameron, and Chris – especially for helping their mother in the last part of her life’s journey.

Pat Sumption was a consummate environmental activist. She was dauntless, persistent, strategic, and unerring in her sense of the right thing to do, especially for Washington’s rivers. She worked for decades for the protection of the Green River, including standing up to Tacoma’s ever-thirsty water grab through the infamous Pipeline Five.

Rachael uncovered an essay Pat herself had written and published in the Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CELP) newsletter in 2016. Here are Pat’s words from “Love Letter to the Green River”:


I didn’t mean to fall in love with the Green River. It just happened. It just grew like Topsy.

I discovered rivers when I went to Girl Scout camp at 12. We did a multi-day hike on the Dosewallips. We swam in the river and nearly froze our toes, and it was beautiful and I was in love with the Dosewallips and rivers everywhere. So it was inevitable when someone aimed me at a river canoe, that I would get in it and try paddling. And, I guess it was inevitable when I was told to choose my favorite Washington river at a State Rivers Conference in the 1980’s, that I would choose the Green. It is the color of my eyes, after all, and I had to choose something.

All those at the Conference who chose the Green (even if their eyes weren’t), were sent to one corner and told that our task was to form a Green River group which would then work on protecting our chosen River. There must have been other fanatics in our Group, because we did just that: we formed Friends of the Green River and started raising money and incorporating a non-profit. And the more I did for the Green, the more I fell in love with it.

The Green River has a secret that gets many people hooked on it. Part of it is hidden in a deep, quiet gorge that’s almost inaccessible except by boat. Boaters come from all over the world to boat the Green River Gorge. It’s untrammeled, pristine, gorgeously draped in damp green mosses and ferns – a fantasy, watery, world of Green.

But, the Green River has 2 dams on it. The Corps of Engineers built a dam for flood control in the middle of the 20th Century. Tacoma then built a smaller dam downstream . . . [to pipe] Green River water to municipal customers in Pierce County.

Those dams meant problems for the ecology of the Green, and for recreational boaters. They were threats to the salmon and steelhead runs of the Green River; there was no fish passage for either dam.

By the 1980s, Tacoma had plans to build a new water supply pipeline through south King County rather than directly to Pierce County and Tacoma, because they wanted to sell some of that water to the water districts and towns in south King County along the way.

Friends of the Green River (FOG) had been created to protect the Green and its watershed, including not allowing more water to be taken from the River. FOG appealed … the permits to build the new Pipeline through King County where it would cross a number of streams, wetlands, etc. …

We eventually … negotiated with Tacoma and a 1995 Agreement gave us a number of things that could help the Green River, its habitat, its salmon and perhaps even its white water boaters. …

Remember, it takes a community to care for a river and its watershed.


And this from Elaine Packard, friend and colleague in advocacy for Washington’s rivers:

“Pat was a longstanding member of the Sierra Club’s Water & Salmon Committee which she chaired for a time. For decades, she was one of its most dedicated members, serving as activist, as well as mentor and advisor. And Pat brought institutional memory along with her expertise about water. Anyone who worked to protect rivers in Washington: she knew them and she’d probably worked with them.

Pat’s training as a lawyer gave her a laser mind on issues. But it was her love of rivers that inspired her to serve in many leadership roles with Sierra Club, Friends of the Green River, CELP, Rivers Council, and other groups. She will be missed and remembered fondly for her commitment, her persistence, and her special charm. She was a respected elder in the Chapter whose memory will not be forgotten.”


In closing, rivers and future generations, depend on us to give them a voice. Pat gave voice to rivers.

On the day before Pat’s life celebration, Rachael and I sat and talked about Pat. How is it that someone with such a powerful presence can be among us on one day, and then be gone the next? Where are they? Where did they go?

Flowing through forests and human communities in western Washington is the Green River. Pat may be gone. Pat’s spirit? Pat remains with the river she so deeply loves. Let Pat’s love and work for rivers carry on through all of us.


Washington Water Watch: September Addition

Check out our newest Washington Water Watch newsletter:

Photo: John Osborn

Dear friends of CELP,


Summer is winding down, and hopefully most of you got a chance to get out and enjoy the wonderful recreational opportunities on our rivers. But sadly, those opportunities were limited in some areas of the state due to low river flows caused by this year’s drought. Climate Change is contributing to an increase in the frequency and severity of droughts in our state, and state policies need to do more to proactively combat this. Other threats continue to pop up like the proposed Crystal Geyser water bottling plant in Randal next to the Cowlitz River, a river that doesn’t have the protection of an Instream Flow Rule. 


That’s why CELP has been working to protect and restore stream flows in watersheds around the state – work that is now more critical than ever. But we can’t do it alone. We rely on generous donations from our members and supporters to hold our lawmakers and agencies accountable for protecting Washington’s rivers and streams. Please consider helping us continue this important work by making a donation today!


In this issue you will find information about CELP’s win on the Spokane River Instream Flow Rule, CELP in the community, the Crystal Geyser water bottling plant proposal, salmon in the Upper Columbia River, a thank you to the Swinomish, and an AWRA event announcement.  

Sincerely, Trish
Trish Rolfe
Executive Director
trolfe@celp.org

For the full newsletter – click here: https://conta.cc/32CvW2n


More Controversy Stirs: Crystal Geyser Bottling Plant Proposal

Crystal Geyser submitted a proposal for a water bottling plant in Randle, Washington that is planning to take 325,000 gallons a day out of the Cowlitz river watershed if its permit is approved by Ecology. This has huge implications for water quality, quantity, critical fish habitat, and land use.

Take a listen to this short segment on the most recent slip-up in the Crystal Geyser bottling plant proposal. Thanks, KUOW-FM for the informative look into what has been going on, as well as the concerns of Randle citizens and others around the state.


July Drought Update

Summer officially began a few weeks ago and Washingtonians are now out hiking, camping and enjoying all the outdoors activities our state has to offer. But this warm, dry weather comes with frightening prospects for Washington’s rivers and streams. As you may have heard, Governor Inslee declared an emergency drought back in early April and since then he has expanded it to over half of the state. Snowpack conditions are less than 50% of the average for this time of year, and 83% of our rivers and streams are flowing well below normal with many experiencing record lows.  

The Naches River flows low as it feeds into the Yakima – Washington State Department of Ecology.

This is not good news for Washington’s rivers and the fish that depend on them. Statewide, more than two dozen salmon populations are listed as endangered, and this year’s drought could cause these salmon populations to dwindle even more, hampering recovery efforts for the endangered Resident Orcas as well. Low flows are also impacting water quality in many of our rivers and streams, and causing rafting and kayaking business to cancel summer trips. In many areas of the state water users have already been told to cut back their water use until stream flows improve. As bad as this all is it’s likely to get much worse, Climate Change and our states population growth continue to strain Washington’s already over-allocated water resources.  

Even in light of all this, there is still immense pressure to give away our water, like a proposed Crystal Geyser water bottling plant in Randle, Washington that is planning to take 325,000 gallons a day out of the Cowlitz river watershed if its permit is approved by Ecology. That’s where CELP comes in. As Washington’s only water defender, CELP has worked passionately since 1993 to protect and restore clean, flowing waters in Washington, and we are now working around the state to stop this wholesale giveaway of our water resources, and restore flows in the many rivers and streams across the state. But we can’t do it alone.  Your support now means more than ever. Please consider making a donation today.  You can donate online at our secure website, or send us a check in the mail. CELP’s work to protect Washington’s water resources depends on it.    

Take a look at current streamflow conditions here: https://www.usgs.gov/centers/water-dashboard/surface?state=wa