Ecology Proposes New Management Rule for Dungeness Watershed

Published May 21, 2012

The Washington Department of Ecology is proposing a new set of water management regulations, including stream closures and minimum instream flows, for the Dungeness River watershed on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.  The Elwha-Dungeness area is currently one of the only designated “water critical” basins in western Washington without an instream flow rule.  Ecology’s proposed rule, based on a watershed plan approved by the Clallam County Board of Commissioners in 2005, will apply to all new appropriations of surface water and groundwater in the Dungeness watershed.  Some water uses would be exempt, including new domestic water service -- within a five-year window -- to parcels from an existing permit-exempt group domestic well.  New groundwater appropriations may be authorized with mitigation or by debiting a “reserve” of approximately 548,000 gallons per day for indoor domestic use.

Ecology will hold an open house and public hearing on the proposed regulation June 28, 2012 at the Guy Cole Center, 202 N. Blake Avenue in Sequim beginning at 5:00 p.m.  The proposal will be subject to public review and comment until July 9, 2012.  Tupper Mack Wells attorney Sarah Mack summarizes key elements of the proposed Dungeness watershed regulation in an article for the June issue of the Western Water Law & Policy Reporter.  For more information, contact Sarah Mack at