Water, Water Everywhere, but ...Permalink +
Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 1:57 pm // Terry Wechsler
Kudos to Rome Grange and the local Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights (yes, I am saying kudos) for the excellent Water Forum today at the public library. The panel included representatives of the Whatcom County Council, COB, PUD, ECOL, and ag.
It was a longish format, but that allowed each panelist to speak for at least 10 minutes, with an hour remaining for questions. Panelists were asked to respond to specific questions, including 1) identifying key issues, and 2) weighing in on the county council's water action plan. This is just the briefest takeaway of the conference.
Panelists generally agreed with Carl Weimer's prioritization of the issues:
- lack of sustainable salmon fisheries
- bacterial pollution of surface waters, particularly in Portage Bay
- stormwater runoff
- phosphorus levels in Lake Whatcom (must be reduced 87%)
- groundwater pollution, particularly nitrates in the Sumas/Abbotsford/Blaine aquifer
- sorting out water rights and clarifying the issue of whether exempt wells are an "additional water withdrawal" and
- flood drainage
No one thought the council's water action plan was a bad idea. Carl, its author, thought it was particularly brilliant. With 300 or so pendiing approaches to addressing our issues, prioritization is key so we can resolve to do the most important things, and then fund the doing, according to Carl.
Putting the pieces together, a gross generalization of the main takeaway would be:
- we have plenty of water, yet we have major contstraints in the northern part of the county due to the level of nitrate pollution in the aquifer;
- ag has caused 92% of the pollution in the aquifer, with Canada contributing to the problem in a "band" along the border, but south of that, it is "on us;"
- the most appropriate solution would be to a) stop polluting the aquifer and get the Canadians to do the same, and b) develop treatment systems adequate to address the pollution;
- the cheapest, most expedient way to address ag's immediate need for water is for them to gain rights to somebody else's water, with the middle fork of the Nooksack being the most obvious place because Bellingham, in particular, has a large quantity of rights not currently being used (and not subject to "use it or lose it");
- the feds are in the process of quantifying tribal rights to minimum instream flow and once they do, all those with rights junior to the tribes' (which is everyone including the municipalities) will have to negotiate reallocation;
- no existing residence in the state has ever lost the ability to continue to draw water for its existing residential needs; and
- ag wants their water needs addressed now and not in 20 years.
Today's forum benefitted from what seemed to be quite a bit of candor on the part of governmental entities, including PUD's acknowledgement that they are not a leading example of transparency. Future forums will be a bit more "partisan" and therefore will require a bit more sifting to find the accurate information, but if taken with a grain of salt, will certainly inform as to positions of interest groups and their perspectives and messaging. The following are tentative forums and participants scheduled:
- May 17: Diverse Perspectives on Water and Land Use, with reps of dairy ag, land developers, Business Alliance, Rural Water Systems, fishing, PDS, and Futurewise
- June 7: Water Resource Planning: Past, Present, and Future, with Small Cities Caucus, Water Districts Coalition, County Public Works, Private Well Owners, Citizen's Alliance for Prop. Rights, and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Ass'n & RE Sources
- June 21 or 28: Wrap Up, with Mayor Linville, Water Districts, Non-gov't water systems, tribes, business, environmental community, and ECOL, with Exec. Louws closing the series.
Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 1:57 pm // Terry Wechsleror How Not to Plan for Future Generations' Water Needs
12 comments; last on Jun 30, 2014
Fri, Dec 06, 2013, 11:03 pm // Wendy HarrisThe county will be required to consider water quality and water quantity when planning rural growth.
3 comments; last on Dec 10, 2013
Fri, May 24, 2013, 12:18 am // Guest writerMarian Beddill provides a general guide for the public, with a look at the history of water rights in Washington state.
4 comments; last on May 26, 2013
Mon, Mar 11, 2013, 6:37 am // Guest writerGuest writer Shane Roth writes in favor of the reconveyance of Lake Whatcom land back to the county.
1 comments; last on Mar 11, 2013
Mon, Jan 28, 2013, 1:52 am // Wendy HarrisImproving ecosystem functions holistically is the best form of protection for the Lake Whatcom.
1 comments; last on Jan 29, 2013
Fri, Jan 11, 2013, 1:35 pm // Wendy HarrisA proposed amendment to the Lake Whatcom watershed moratorium will increase water quality degradation
1 comments; last on Jan 12, 2013
Sun, Jan 06, 2013, 11:49 pm // Wendy HarrisWatch the Whatcom County Council wiggle its way out of the latest round of GMA compliance requirements for Lake Whatcom
1 comments; last on Jul 27, 2013
Tue, May 15, 2012, 6:32 pm // Wendy HarrisA City staff memo on the Bloedel dock closure reads more like an advocacy brief
Sat, Feb 18, 2012, 3:03 pm // Guest writerNo EIS - no real county planning concern about developing Squalicum Mountain and degrading Lake Whatcom water even further.
Mon, Nov 14, 2011, 11:07 am // Wendy HarrisProposed new storm water regulations will increase Lake Whatcom development. Hearing this Thursday.
1 comments; last on Nov 14, 2011
Sun, Nov 06, 2011, 10:48 pm // Wendy HarrisImportant events concerning the Lake occurred during the election with little comment from the public, the candidates or the media.
16 comments; last on Nov 10, 2011
Wed, Oct 19, 2011, 12:23 pm // Guest writerSue Taylor guest writes this perspective on WCV and their alliance with the Dan Pike for mayor campaign.
16 comments; last on Oct 23, 2011
Fri, Jul 22, 2011, 6:35 am // Wendy HarrisA pro-active, extremely cost effective solution for protecting Lake Whatcom exists!
3 comments; last on Jul 22, 2011
Mon, Jul 18, 2011, 9:03 pm // Riley SweeneyThe Political Junkie interviews Christina Maginnis
4 comments; last on Jul 22, 2011
Mon, Feb 02, 2009, 7:57 am // g.h.kirschWhile it went almost unheralded Friday, Kremen & Co temporarily backed away from their earlier position that driving a road into the forest on Squalicum Mountain, to…
4 comments; last on Feb 03, 2009
Mon, Dec 29, 2008, 12:13 pm // g.h.kirschAt the risk of displeasing friend and foe alike, may I ask what has been accomplished this past year to fix Lake Whatcom and protect Bellingham's water supply?…
12 comments; last on Jan 02, 2009
Tue, Sep 30, 2008, 4:19 pm // g.h.kirschFrom the outset of discussion of the proposal to reconvey forest lands to the county for a new park I have written that it is necessary to first…
1 comments; last on Oct 01, 2008
Wed, Sep 17, 2008, 9:41 pm // Tom PratumThis past winter, during torrential rains to the South of us, there were some very serious slides on Weyerhaeuser land in Lewis County adjacent to Stillman Creek (a…
5 comments; last on Sep 20, 2008
Mon, Jun 30, 2008, 2:33 am // g.h.kirschNo matter how one hopes things will change, things remain the same. Bellingham wants the county to curb development in the watershed, but can't seem to stop allowing…
2 comments; last on Jul 05, 2008
Fri, Jun 27, 2008, 11:16 pm // Myron WlaznakI received a Notice of Complete Application for the construction of an impervious trail through the center of a parcel of forested land acquired with funds collected for…
5 comments; last on Jul 01, 2008
Fri, Jun 20, 2008, 11:26 am // Guest writerby Wendy Harris |
Wendy is a resident of Silver Beach on the north side of Lake Whatcom. This is her second guest writer article - and follows…
Mon, Jun 16, 2008, 10:33 am // g.h.kirschWhile the Lake Whatcom Water & Sewer District races to expand its infrastructure to serve sprawling development on the north shore of the lake, the King County Superior…
2 comments; last on Jun 19, 2008
Sun, Jun 15, 2008, 12:17 pm // Guest writerBy Wendy Harris
Wendy is a resident of Silver Beach on the north side of Lake Whatcom. She is an active citizen. Today she is our first guest writer.…
9 comments; last on Jul 31, 2008
Mon, May 26, 2008, 8:51 pm // g.h.kirschWhy all the hubbub about building moratoria in the Lake Whatcom watershed? You can't build or subdivide without adequate water, and the entire watershed is closed to new…
1 comments; last on Jun 01, 2008
Tue, May 20, 2008, 12:08 am // g.h.kirschAnother important step towards dealing with the pollution of Lake Whatcom was taken tonight. The mayor and city council have thrown down the gauntlet to Pete Kremen and…
14 comments; last on Jun 01, 2008
Fri, Apr 04, 2008, 10:42 am // Tom Pratum
In early February, I and several other folks met with Whatcom County Parks director Mike McFarlane to ask some questions about the proposed reconveyance of Forest Board…
3 comments; last on Sep 25, 2008
Sun, Sep 30, 2007, 9:03 pm // John ServaisThe Bellingham Herald editorial today is excellent. It raises the basic questions about the newly proposed Lake Whatcom land reconveyance deal to make a park on the very…
Tue, Sep 25, 2007, 9:25 pm // John ServaisTom Pratum has some good information on the proposed - and still mostly secret - Lake Whatcom land reconveyance plan. He posted it on the North Cascades Audubon…
Sat, Sep 22, 2007, 9:40 pm // John ServaisThe October surprise is a week early. Today's Herald has the carefully managed news of the land swap that John Watts alerted us to on Sep 11 -…
Wed, Sep 12, 2007, 10:12 pm // John ServaisRather than answer several emails individually, this post will clarify a couple things. First, why is yesterday's post by John Watts that I praised any different from his…
Tue, Sep 11, 2007, 10:19 pm // John ServaisAn astounding post by John Watts this afternoon on his HamsterTalk website. He has what amounts to a prediction of an October Surprise - implying strongly that it…
Thu, Jun 03, 2004, 6:15 pm // John ServaisToday the Washington Department of Ecology released a report that says, basically, that mercury in the lake is less now than in the past. "Decreasing" is the operative…
Mon, May 24, 2004, 6:22 pm // John ServaisThe initiative is 'remove motor boats', not 'remove boats' from Lake Whatcom. Our Chamber of Commerce just lies in print to achieve their goal of defeating the initiative.
Fri, Feb 13, 2004, 7:48 pm // John ServaisWe see 1/100 of one part per billion or less of benzene to water during most of the year 2000 and into the spring of 2001. Then in…
Thu, Feb 12, 2004, 7:52 pm // John ServaisMotor boats off Lake Whatcom? What was that apology from City Senior Planner Chris Spens at the city council on Monday? El-bull-in-china-shop Chris got the word from el…
Mon, Feb 09, 2004, 7:57 pm // John ServaisWe have mercury contamination all over our county. That we know. Lake Whatcom and Bellingham Bay. Georgia Pacific's chlorine plant leaked mercury for about 35 years and neither…
Sun, Nov 23, 2003, 3:51 pm // John Servaisof some local developers is plain to see in this photo essay at the Lake Whatcom website. The WA Dept of Ecology has enforcement folks tooling around in…
Mon, Oct 13, 2003, 6:38 pm // John Servaistelling me they are voting for Brett Bonner for mayor. Some very prominent ones - but they are not going public. Why not? Fear of retaliation.
Why are they…
Wed, Oct 08, 2003, 6:51 pm // John ServaisThe two differed strongly on several issues. The differences between them are becoming more apparent and this should continue for the next two weeks.
Brett continues to develop his…
Sun, Oct 05, 2003, 7:12 pm // John ServaisWe need one to follow Asmundson during the next three weeks - and to nudge the Herald to do minimal checking of facts before publishing. I'm referring to…
Tue, Sep 30, 2003, 5:55 pm // John ServaisThe first of three Bellingham Herald Election Forums is taking place this evening at the County Council chambers.
The forums are being broadcast live on KGMI radio, 790 AM.…
Wed, Jun 25, 2003, 5:07 pm // John ServaisPosted here because the Bellingham Herald has now ignored this for two days. Of very high importance to Bellingham - and with significant developments.
On Monday evening, the Bellingham…
Fri, Jun 13, 2003, 12:20 pm // John ServaisSt. Joe's Hospital will probably be facing fines for venting toxic gas into the construction area of their new addition. Our Bellingham Herald has not reported a bit…
Tue, May 13, 2003, 6:00 pm // John ServaisThe Bellingham City Council last night voted 5-2 to support the Clean Water Alliance legal action against Whatcom County's designation of Sudden Valley as an Urban Growth Area…
Mon, May 12, 2003, 3:15 pm // John ServaisThe Bellingham City Council will finally hold its very first public hearing of the Public Facilities District (PFD) proposals next Monday, May 19, 7 pm at city hall.…
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