Chapter 173-201A WAC (Outstanding Resource Waters)

We are considering changes to chapter 173-201A Water Quality Standards for Surface Waters of the State of Washington. Specifically, we are considering amendments to:

  • WAC 173-201A-020 Definitions
  • WAC 173-201A-330 Tier III – Protection of Outstanding Resource Waters
  • WAC 173-201A-602 Use designations for fresh waters by water resource inventory area (WRIA) – WRIAs 4 and 26

We may amend other sections of chapter 173-201A WAC as necessary to support any revisions to the sections noted above.

We are considering these changes because we received nominations to designate the following water bodies as Outstanding Resource Waters:

  • Soap Lake (Grant County)
  • Napeequa River (Chelan County)
  • Green River – upper watershed (Lewis and Skamania counties)
  • Cascade River – upper watershed (Skagit County)

An Outstanding Resource Water has the highest level of protection assigned to a water body, under the Tier III Antidegradation rule in our water quality standards.

After considering public comments and weighing public support for each nomination, we will make a final decision on whether a nominated water body should be adopted into chapter 173-201A WAC as an outstanding resource water, and whether that water body should be given Tier III(A) or Tier III(B) protection.

Rulemaking timeline


Announcement phase (CR-101)

Filing date:
Aug. 30, 2022

Announcement documents

Rule development phase

Aug. 30, 2022 - Summer 2023

Public input & involvement

Nov. 16 and 17, 2022 - Public Informational Webinar

We invite you to an informational webinar for the rulemaking to consider designating outstanding resource waters in Washington. During this webinar, we will go over:

  • Washington’s water quality standards and outstanding resource water policy
  • A brief introduction of each nomination
    • Soap Lake in Grant County
    • Part of the Napeequa River in Chelan County
    • Part of the Cascade River in Skagit County
    • Part of the Green River in Lewis and Skamania counties
  • Rulemaking schedule and public involvement opportunities

View the presentation slides (pdf)

This webinar* will be offered via Zoom at the following dates and times:

Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m.
Register for the Nov. 16 webinar
Join by phone only: 1-253-215-8782
Meeting ID: 885 1957 5548

Thursday, Nov. 17 at 1:30 p.m.
Register for the Nov. 17 webinar
Join by phone only: 1-253-215-8782
Meeting ID: 810 4120 7997

*Workshops offered via webinar allow individuals to view the presentation and ask questions via computer or mobile device. 

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