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.

In response to nominations we received in 2021, we propose designating four bodies of water as outstanding resource waters (ORWs). ORWs are identified as having exceptional water quality, ecological or recreational values, or unique attributes. An ORW has the highest level of protection assigned to a water body under the Tier III Antidegradation rule in our water quality standards.

We propose designating these waterbodies under a new section WAC 173-201A-332 - Table 332 - Outstanding Resource Water designations by water resource inventory area (WRIA).

  • Portions of the Napeequa River and tributaries (Chelan County)
  • Upper watershed of the Green River and tributaries (Skamania County)
  • Upper watershed of the Cascade River and tributaries (Skagit County)
  • Soap Lake (Grant County)

We also propose amendments to:

  • WAC 173-201A-020 to add a definition for ORWs
  • WAC 173-201A-330 to clarify the tribal consultation process
  • WAC 173-201A-602 to note where an ORW exists on water bodies with specified use designations within Table 602

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 - July 17, 2023

Public input & involvement

June 6, 2023 - Grant County Commissioners Meeting

We presented information on the rulemaking and the nomination to designate Soap Lake as an outstanding resource water to the Grant County Commissioners.

Wednesday, June 6 at 10:30 a.m.
Meeting agenda and information on how to join is posted on the Grant County website.

View presentation slides (pdf)

May 31, 2023 - Skamania County Commissioners Meeting

We presented information on the rulemaking and the nomination to designate the upper watershed of the Green River to the Skamania County Commissioners.

Wednesday, May 31 at 1:30 p.m.

View presentation slides (pdf)

April 5, 2023 - Soap Lake City Council Meeting

We presented information on the rulemaking and the nomination to designate Soap Lake as an outstanding resource water to the Soap Lake City Council.

Wednesday, April 5 at 5:30 p.m.
Soap Lake Community and Senior Center
121 2nd Ave SE, Soap Lake, WA 98851
Meeting Agenda and other information available on the City of Soap Lake website.

View presentation slides (pdf)

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* is offered via Zoom at the following dates and times:

Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 17 at 1:30 p.m.

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

Rule proposal phase (CR-102)

Filing date:
July 18, 2023

Rule proposal documents:

Comment period

Comments due Sept. 27, 2023

Ecology will review all comments received and plans for decision on adoption Dec. 2023. See above for documents related to the Proposal Phase of the rulemaking.

You can submit comments through one of the following ways:

  • Submit comments online
  • Mail to:
     
    • For standard US Mail
      Department of Ecology
      Water Quality Program
      Marla Koberstein
      PO BOX 47600
      Olympia, WA 98504-7600
       
    • For Parcel Service
      Department of Ecology
      Water Quality Program
      Marla Koberstein
      300 Desmond Dr SE
      Lacey, WA 98503
       
  • Attend a public hearing below

The hearings will begin with a short presentation and question and answer session, followed by the opportunity to provide testimony. The hearing will conclude once everyone who wants to provide testimony has had the opportunity to do so. Written comments will receive the same consideration as oral testimony. We are holding one online webinar and four in-person hearings. Each in-person hearing is located in a community near a nominated water and will have information about that specific water body nomination.

Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, 5:30 p.m.
Join the webinar
Join via phone: 1-253-205-0468
Meeting ID: 837 3908 2092

View presentation slides (pdf)

Webinars are an online meeting forum that you can attend from any computer using internet access or by phone.

Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, 2 p.m.
Kalama Community Building
216 Elm St.
Kalama, WA 98625

The presentation during this hearing will focus on the Green River.

Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, 2 p.m.
Skagit County Public Utility District - Aqua Room
1415 Freeway Dr.
Mount Vernon, WA 98273

The presentation during this hearing will focus on the Cascade River

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, 5:30 p.m.
Soap Lake Senior Center
121 2nd Ave SE
Soap Lake, WA 98551

The presentation during this hearing will focus on Soap Lake

Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, 2 p.m.
Bavarian Lodge - Hintertux Room
810 US Hwy 2
Leavenworth, WA 98826

There is no public parking at the Bavarian Lodge except for ADA (please see the front desk for parking pass). There is free parking (Enchantements/P7 Lot) behind CityHall/Library. See the leavenworth parking webpage for more information. 

The presentation during this hearing will focus on the Napeequa River. 

Any information (e.g., personal or contact) you provide may be publicly disclosed and posted on the Internet.

To request ADA accommodations, contact Ecology’s ADA Coordinator by Aug. 31, 2023 at:

 

Additional languages

Accessibility

To request ADA accommodation for disabilities, or printed materials in a format for the visually impaired, contact Ecology's ADA Coordinator by email at ecyadacoordinator@ecy.wa.gov, or call 360-407-6831. People with impaired hearing may call Washington Relay Service at 711. People with speech disability may call TTY at 877-833-6341.