Instream flow component — Rules — Report.
(1)(a) If the initiating governments choose, by majority vote, to include an instream flow component, it shall be accomplished in the following manner:
(i) If minimum instream flows have already been adopted by rule for a stream within the management area, unless the members of the local governments and tribes on the planning unit by a recorded unanimous vote request the department to modify those flows, the minimum instream flows shall not be modified under this chapter. If the members of local governments and tribes request the planning unit to modify instream flows and unanimous approval of the decision to modify such flow is not achieved, then the instream flows shall not be modified under this section;
(ii) If minimum stream flows have not been adopted by rule for a stream within the management area, setting the minimum instream flows shall be a collaborative effort between the department and members of the planning unit. The department must attempt to achieve consensus and approval among the members of the planning unit regarding the minimum flows to be adopted by the department. Approval is achieved if all government members and tribes that have been invited and accepted on the planning unit present for a recorded vote unanimously vote to support the proposed minimum instream flows, and all nongovernmental members of the planning unit present for the recorded vote, by a majority, vote to support the proposed minimum instream flows.
(b) The department shall undertake rule making to adopt flows under (a) of this subsection. The department may adopt the rules either by the regular rules adoption process provided in chapter 34.05 RCW, the expedited rules adoption process as set forth in RCW 34.05.353, or through a rules adoption process that uses public hearings and notice provided by the county legislative authority to the greatest extent possible. Such rules do not constitute significant legislative rules as defined in RCW 34.05.328, and do not require the preparation of small business economic impact statements.
(c) If approval is not achieved within four years of the date the planning unit first receives funds from the department for conducting watershed assessments under RCW 90.82.040, the department may promptly initiate rule making under chapter 34.05 RCW to establish flows for those streams and shall have two additional years to establish the instream flows for those streams for which approval is not achieved.
(2)(a) Notwithstanding RCW 90.03.345, minimum instream flows set under this section for rivers or streams that do not have existing minimum instream flow levels set by rule of the department shall have a priority date of two years after funding is first received from the department under RCW 90.82.040, unless determined otherwise by a unanimous vote of the members of the planning unit but in no instance may it be later than the effective date of the rule adopting such flow.
(b) Any increase to an existing minimum instream flow set by rule of the department shall have a priority date of two years after funding is first received for planning in the WRIA or multi-WRIA area from the department under RCW 90.82.040 and the priority date of the portion of the minimum instream flow previously established by rule shall retain its priority date as established under RCW 90.03.345.
(c) Any existing minimum instream flow set by rule of the department that is reduced shall retain its original date of priority as established by RCW 90.03.345 for the revised amount of the minimum instream flow level.
(3) Before setting minimum instream flows under this section, the department shall engage in government-to-government consultation with affected tribes in the management area regarding the setting of such flows.
(4) Nothing in this chapter either: (a) Affects the department's authority to establish flow requirements or other conditions under RCW 90.48.260 or the federal clean water act (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1251 et seq.) for the licensing or relicensing of a hydroelectric power project under the federal power act (16 U.S.C. Sec. 791 et seq.); or (b) affects or impairs existing instream flow requirements and other conditions in a current license for a hydroelectric power project licensed under the federal power act.
(5) If the planning unit is unable to obtain unanimity under subsection (1) of this section, the department may adopt rules setting such flows.
(6) The department shall report annually to the appropriate legislative standing committees on the progress of instream flows being set under this chapter, as well as progress toward setting instream flows in those watersheds not being planned under this chapter. The report shall be made by December 1, 2003, and by December 1st of each subsequent year.
[2003 1st sp.s. c 4 § 4; 1998 c 247 § 4.]
| Findings -- 2003 1st sp.s. c 4: See note following RCW 90.82.040.|