Okanogan County's Natural Resource Division is interested and involved in many local, state and federal programs that have an impact on the health of our watersheds. Many of these programs are summarized on this web site where you can find meeting minutes, reports, descriptions and pictures among other things.
Okanogan County Natural Resource Division is involved in the following programs:
Washington State Watershed Planning:
In 1998, the Washington State legislature approved ESHB 2514 to create RCW 90.82 and subsequently in 2003 passed ESHB 1336 to modify RCW 90.82. This RCW enables local stakeholders within their watersheds to develop management strategies related to water quantity (required by the bill), water quality (optional), instream flow (optional), and habitat (optional). Watershed Planning is ongoing in the Methow, Foster Creek/Moses Coulee (jointly participating watersheds), Kettle and is just beginning in the Okanogan.
Northwest Power and Conservation Council Subbasin Planning:
Federal, state, tribal and local agencies along with the local stakeholders created plans together that established priorities for the disbursement of mitigation dollars provided by Bonneville Power Administration for fish and wildlife projects. Plans for the Upper Columbia area were completed by May of 2004 and will be Phase I of a salmon recovery plan.
The Lead Entity "2496" process allows for a local Citizens Committee to prioritize projects proposed to be funding by the Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board. Balancing technical soundness and community acceptance, Okanogan County Natural Resource Division is partnered with the Colville Confederated Tribes in this process that gets "projects on the ground" moving forward.
Okanogan County Natural Resource Division has been assisting the collecting of baseline stream flow data since 2000 in the Methow Basin and 2002 in the Okanogan Basin.
Washington State Regional Salmon Recovery Planning:
The State has requested that draft regional salmon recovery plans be completed by December 2004 with plans finalized by June 2005.These regional plans will demonstrate to NOAA Fisheries the State’s efforts to comply with ESA requirements. This planning effort will continue to build off of those plans completed in NPCC sub-basin planning effort.
Okanogan County is currently developing a Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan for the mainstem Methow River. It is planned to develop another such plan for the mainstem Okanogan River starting in July of 2005. It is anticipated to do similar planning efforts on the Chewuch and Twisp Rivers as well.