Programs

WSAC County Programs

The Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC) has various programs for member counties that specialize in certain policy areas affecting Washington State. Click on the program links below to learn more about the individual programs and the staff and membership requirements for each program that is supporting the 39 counties in Washington State.

Coastal Counties Caucus

coast

The purpose of the Coastal Counties Caucus is to:

  1. Create a forum for County Commissioners, County Council Members, County Executives and county staff within the 14 Coastal Counties to interact, discuss, engage and recommend WSAC positions on issues relating to the waters of Puget Sound, Hood Canal and the Pacific Ocean
  2. Establish a partnership with Puget Sound Partnership in the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Action Agenda to restore and protect Puget Sound by 2020.

The fourteen counties comprising the Coastal Counties Caucus are Clallam, Jefferson, Mason, Thurston, Pierce, King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, Kitsap, Island, San Juan, Grays Harbor and Pacific.

Specific Objectives and Responsibilities of the Group

  • Assist the Puget Sound Partnership in the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Puget Sound Action Agenda and provide policy input to the Leadership Council and Ecosystem Coordination Board.
  • Encourage state agencies, the legislature and the governor to build new capacity and opportunities for the Pacific Coast similar to the Puget Sound.
  • Provide state agencies, including the Department of Ecology, the Puget Sound Partnership and other state and federal agencies with perspectives from local government officials elected to govern Coastal Counties.
  • Assure that the interests of watershed planning groups/organizations and Marine Resource Committees are fully represented in a meaningful and integrated manner.

Support and inform County Representatives on the Puget Sound Partnership Ecosystem Coordination Board and Salmon Recovery Council.

Brynn Brady provides contract staff support to counties involved in this Program.  Brynn can be reached by e-mail at brynn@ceibaconsulting.com.

Columbia River Caucus

Columbia River

The Columbia River Caucus provides a forum for County Commissioners within the Columbia River Basin to interact, discuss, engage and partner with the Washington State Department of Ecology in the implementation of the Columbia River Basin Water Supply Development Program.

RCW 90.90 was adopted by the 2006 legislature and provides the framework for implementing the Columbia River Basin Water Management Program. It directs Ecology to aggressively pursue development of water supplies to benefit both instream and out-of-stream uses through storage, conservation and voluntary regional water management agreements. Specifically, RCW 90.90.020 stipulates that the primary foci for the Program are:

“(3) The department of ecology shall focus its efforts to develop water supplies for the Columbia river basin on the following needs:

(a) Alternatives to groundwater for agricultural users in the Odessa subarea aquifer;

(b) Sources of water supply for pending water right applications;

(c) A new uninterruptible supply of water for the holders of interruptible water rights on the Columbia river mainstem that are subject to instream flows or other mitigation conditions to protect streamflows; and

(d) New municipal, domestic, industrial, and irrigation water needs within the Columbia river basin.”

WSAC has been involved in the Program since its creation. WSAC also seeks to include designated watershed planning units (under RCW 90.82) and Ground Water Management Units (under RCW 90.44) adjacent to the Columbia River to interact, discuss, engage, and partner with the Washington State Department of Ecology in the implementation of the Columbia River Water Management Program.

Ecology has formed a Policy Advisory Group (CR-PAG), made up of a broad group of stakeholders interested in water supply issues in Eastern Washington, to advise it on implementation of the Program. County commissioners have four seats on the CR-PAG. The CR-PAG has been meeting since the program was initiated and has provided valuable insights to Ecology.

As of February 2019, WSAC’s county commissioner members of the CR-PAG are:

  • Commissioner Mark Stedman, Lincoln County
  • Commissioner Mike Leita, Yakima County
  • Commissioner Wes McCart, Stevens County
  • Commissioner Richard Stevens, Grant County

Four alternates have been appointed to participate in CR-PAG meetings when the regular members are not available. These alternates are:

  • Commissioner Jerome Delvin, Benton County
  • Commissioner Ron Anderson, Yakima County
  • Commissioner Doug Englund, Chelan County
  • Commissioner Scott Hutsell, Lincoln County

Participation in the Columbia River Caucus

Each member of a Legislative Body from a County in Eastern Washington (defined for these purposes as all counties above Bonneville Dam) may participate in the Columbia River Caucus.  Typically, member counties designate one commissioner per county to participate. Additionally, it is expected that the Washington State Department of Ecology will provide consistent attendance and leadership from the Office of the Columbia River with support from other divisions as necessary.

Specific Objectives and Responsibilities of the Commissioner’s PAG:

  • Help Ecology identify policy issues with implementing the Columbia River Basin Water Management Program.
  • Provide Ecology with perspectives on water-related topics from local government officials elected to govern counties in the Columbia River Basin.
  • Assure that the interests of Watershed Planning Groups and Ground Water Management Units are fully represented in a meaningful and integrated manner.
  • Provide guidance and advice to County Representatives representing the Columbia River Counties on a variety of committees including the Columbia River Policy Advisory Group and providing advice to Ecology on implementation of the Columbia River Program and related water issues.

The Commissioners’ PAG meets 4-6 times per year to carry out these tasks.

Neil Aaland provides staff support to counties involved in this caucus. Neil can be reached by e-mail at naaland@comcast.net or by phone at (360) 791-8905.

Timber Counties Caucus

Timber

Timber Counties Committee is to create a forum for County Commissioners, County Council Members, County Executives and county staff within the 29 Timber Counties to interact, discuss, engage and recommend WSAC positions on issues relating to:

  • Federal land management, BLM and US Forest Service
  • Department of Natural Resources management of Federal Trust lands and “State Forest Lands” held in trust for Washington Counties
  • Forest Practices Board regulation and their impacts on counties
  • County relations with DNR/USFSWildfire control/management
  • Maintaining open communications and interaction with DNR, the Forest Practices Board, The Board of Natural Resources, the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, as well as the stakeholders associated with these entities
  • Providing input to the NACO Public Lands Steering Committee on all issues relevant to Washington’s counties

Participants

Each member of a Legislative Body, the County Executives and their designees from one of the 29 Timber Counties that includes:

Asotin, Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Okanogan, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Pierce,  Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whatcom, Yakima.

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