This rulemaking will create Chapter 173-526 WAC Cowlitz Instream Resources Protection and Water Management Program which will establish the amount of water (“instream flow”) that would protect and reserve flow-dependent resources such as fish, wildlife, recreation, water quality, navigation and aesthetics. Instream flows set in rule become water rights with priority dates of the effective date of the rule. The established flow levels will serve as benchmarks to determine whether additional water is available for future allocation beyond the needs of existing water rights, including the instream flows once adopted by rule.
Instream flows will be proposed for the Coweeman. Instream flows also may be proposed for a number of other tributaries within the watershed where habitat studies exist. This rule will establish reservations for future water supply for specific purposes and geographical areas, closures, and the administration of future water allocation and use. A maximum allocation limit will be set to determine the amount of water available for appropriation from streams within the watershed when flows in these streams exceed the instream flows set in rule.
Work on this rule is delayed indefinitely.
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