Watershed Management Board Diminishes the Role of Stakeholders

In Hirst Decision, Local Government, News, Wake Up Whatcom, Whatcom County Council by commonnw

This recently released PDF document shows the plans being made by the Watershed Management Board to run meetings and exclude the legally authorized WRIA 1 – Planning Unit members from the process.

In October 2017, the Washington State Legislature passed ESSB 6091, which redefined the need for an updated watershed plan and acknowledge that the lead agency is Whatcom County Council who are to accommodate and fund the necessary money and tools needed to accomplish this through the Planning Unit.

Who is the Planning Unit?

They are a compilation of all of the agencies within the Watershed Management Board and the individual Caucuses like the Private Well Owners. They are you.

The Initiating Governments established the Planning Unit to ensure representation of a broad range of water resource interests.  There are 16 caucuses representing government and non-government water interests on the WRIA 1 Planning Unit.  In 1999, an Interlocal Agreement (ILA) created the Joint Board, which is comprised of representatives of the Lummi Nation, Nooksack Indian Tribe, City of Bellingham, Whatcom County, and the Public Utility District No. 1.  Pursuant to the October 1998 MOA, this ILA further formalized the government-to-government relationship essential to the tribes’ participation in the process.

The Planning Unit’s role is to recommend actions for a Watershed Plan and to contribute knowledge, interests, technical expertise, and other resources to its development.  The Planning Unit is made up of representatives from the Initiating Governments, other governments, and various caucuses.

Apparently government agencies, public utilities, the tribes, and other municipalities did not get that message? Why do we assert this claim? Look over the attached thirteen page PDF which has a flow chart of accountability on page five of the document. Within this flow chart it is clear for anyone to see that the Watershed Management Board has placed itself into a major role for this process. They’ve placed the Planning Unit directly under the Whatcom County Council and outside of any of the planning and actions being pursued by the Watershed Management Board. Their actions are clearly to ensure that they work outside the Planning Unit with no accountability to the stakeholders who make up the Planning Unit.