"...everyone was walking around stiff-legged like a bunch of long-tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs. Over time, the rough corners got rounded off and we learned to trust each other.- Ray Sandidge, Sr. Member of the Entiat Watershed Planning Unit
History of the Entiat Watershed Planning Unit
Since 1993, Entiat area landowners have been working with the Cascadia Conservation District, to develop local solutions to natural resource issues specific to the basin. It all started when a number of concerned citizens met with the Entiat Chamber of Commerce, United States Forest Service, and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to initiate locally-led resource planning. The group organized using the NRCS Coordinated Resource Management Plan, or CRMP, model. The CRMP group reorganized in 1998, in accordance with the Watershed Planning Act as written in Chapter 90.82, Revised Code of Washington, to become the Entiat WRIA 46 Planning Unit, or EWPU. The acronym "WRIA" and word "watershed" are often used interchangeably.
The EWPU is made up of Entiat valley landowners, government and non-government entities, and other stakeholders. The goal of the group is to "voluntarily bring people together to improve communication, reduce conflicts, address problems, reach consensus and implement actions to improve natural resource management on associated private and public lands in the Entiat watershed". Cascadia Conservation District provides technical, policy and administrative support to the EWPU.
On May 17, 2004, the Planning Unit unanimouslyapproved submittal of the Entiat WRIA 46 Management Plan to Chelan County for their consideration. The WRIA 46 plan represents over a decade's worth of collaborative natural resource planning in the Entiat valley. The required water quantity element, as well as instream flows, habitat and water quality were all addressed in the document. All four elements were included due to the fact that the original Entiat CRMP group had already begun to tackle multiple resource issues, including fish habitat and water quality, as part of the effort that was initiated in 1993. The Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the WRIA 46 plan during their regular session on September 13, 2004.
Subsequent to plan approval, the Entiat Watershed Planning Unit was eligible to apply for Phase 4 or Implementation funds. Phase 4 funding was successfully obtained by the District on behalf of the EWPU, and the group entered Year 1 of implementation on February 1, 2005. The primary focus of the first year was the creation of a Detailed Implementation Plan, or DIP. The DIP outlines tasks, strategies, timelines and identifies funding sources for the implementation of WRIA 46 plan recommendations.
The Entiat WRIA 46 plan and appendices, DIP, and supporting technical reports and studies may be accessed for viewing and downloading using the links to the right. Local participation and leadership remain strong to this day. The EWPU is recognized for developing cooperative, proactive solutions to natural resource issues. They have successfully implemented a variety of important habitat, water quality and water quantity restoration projects in the watershed.
Cascadia: The Story of Entiat from North 40 Productions on Vimeo.
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