From the Department of Ecology: [who, it appears, has changed the name of this program -- again: "Basin" is apparently out of the mix since the notice of preparation of a programatic EIS. Getting hard to keep up.]
"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Aug. 28, 2006
Columbia River panel tapped to offer advice on new water program
YAKIMA - A panel representing a broad spectrum of interested parties will help the state launch a new water management program for the Columbia River to sustain growing communities and a healthy economy, and meet the needs of fish and healthy watersheds.
Farmers, local government officials, tribes and environmental groups, joined with water, fish and power managers in Ellensburg recently to inaugurate the Columbia River Policy Advisory Group.
"Success on the Columbia River can only be had through collaboration," said Jay Manning, director of the Washington Department of Ecology. "Each of these members brings an important perspective to the table that will serve us well as we implement this plan."
The panel will provide advice as state agencies move forward to implement the Columbia River Water Management Program, passed this last legislative session with overwhelming support and a commitment of $216 million from the Legislature.
The historic water bill calls for the Department of Ecology to aggressively develop new water supplies and improve water management on the Columbia River to support stream flows for fish and new out-of-stream uses, such as farming, industry and municipal growth. It also allows for creativity and flexibility in achieving water resource solutions through voluntary regional agreements.
"For too long we were locked in water wars," Manning said. "As vested partners, we're ready to design a program where both the environment and the economy win."
One of the panel's first tasks will be to help agencies develop priorities and criteria for funding conservation and storage projects. In addition the group will play a key role in identifying "preferred alternatives" through the current Columbia River Water Management Program environmental impact statement (EIS) process. A draft EIS will be available for comment this fall.
"We've got some looming deadlines," Manning explained. "Supply and demand forecasts are due to the Legislature, projects need to be identified, and mechanisms for implementing innovative management tools - such as voluntary regional water agreements - need to be in place. These leaders are going to help us decide how to get the work done."
The panel members include:
John Stuhlmiller, Washington State Farm Bureau
Merrill Ott, Stevens County commissioner
Phil Rigdon, Yakama Nation
Rob Masonis, American Rivers
Gary Chandler, Association of Washington Business
Jim Fredricks, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Kathleen Collins, Water Policy Alliance
John Culp, Washington State Conservation Commission
Cindy Custer, Bonneville Power Administration
Dick Erickson, East Columbia Basin Irrigation District
Rick George, Umatilla Tribes
Bill Gray, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Bob Hammond, City of Kennewick
Tony Grover, Northwest Power and Conservation Council
Joe Lukas, Grant County PUD
Mo McBroom, Washington Environmental Council
Darryll Olsen, Columbia-Snake Rivers Irrigation Association
Gary Passmore, Colville Tribes
Lisa Pelly, Washington Rivers Conservancy
Rudy Peone, Spokane Tribe
Mike Schwisow, Columbia Basin Development League
Teresa Scott, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Paul Wagner, NOAA Fisheries - US Department of Commerce
Rich Stevens, Grant County commissioner
Max Benitz, Benton County commissioner
The group will meet monthly over the next several months, after which the schedule will be reevaluated. More information on the Columbia River Water Management Program is available online ..."