HERE’S A CHANCE FOR PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT RIVERS TO HELP PROTECT THE GREEN (DUWAMISH) RIVER
If you believe rivers and their ecosystems and wildlife – including salmon — need protection, now is the time to do something to take care of the Green River. Friends of the Green River, a small non-profit organization, will need help once again from you and your friends to negotiate with Tacoma to get the best deal possible for the salmon, listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened, for the instream flows on this river, for the boaters who love the Green, for the conservationists and recreational users who want to continue to enjoy one of their favorite rivers in Washington.
NEGOTIATIONS FOR SETTLEMENT OF LEGAL ACTION
BETWEEN FRIENDS OF THE GREEN RIVER
AND THE CITY OF TACOMA
Friends of the Green River and City of Tacoma are about to start up another round of negotiations to nail down specifics of the “Settlement Agreement Between City of Tacoma, King County, and Friends of Green River.”
Way back in the mid-1990’s, Friends of the Green River (FOG) appealed the issuance by King County of a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit to Tacoma to build a 2nd water transmission pipeline that would divert approximately 100 cubic feet per second (cfs) of water from the Green River. This would be in addition to the 100 cfs of water they had been diverting from the Green since they built a dam and pipeline in the early days of the 20th Century.
Friends of the Green went through the process of an Appeal to the King County Hearings Board and then appealed to the State Shoreline Hearings Board. At some point during the process of getting ready for that hearing, FOG decided to try negotiating a settlement with Tacoma. We reached an agreement with Tacoma at the end of 1995, after about a year’s work.
Rachael Paschal of Center for Environmental Law and Policy (CELP) was our most faithful advisor through this long process and found us an attorney to do much of the formal work preparing for the Shoreline Hearings Board hearing and then writing the Agreement. So thanks to Rachael, we had, in effect, 2 attorneys guiding us through the process.
One point in the Agreement said that it would not go into effect until Tacoma had built and commenced operation of the Second Supply Project. The Pipeline that is the subject of this Agreement was not completed until approximately 10 years from the date the parties signed the Agreement.
Once it was in effect, both sides looked at the Agreement and decided that what we had written 10 years previously, now needed some details that would clarify what was meant in the original Agreement. FOG began a series of meetings with our constituents and members – primarily whitewater boaters and conservationists. These meetings preceded and then ran parallel with the negotiations sessions between Tacoma and FOG (and included FOG members and constituents). Eventually the negotiations petered out because of personnel changes in Tacoma and then because of difficulties getting started again.
Now, Tacoma has asked us to again resume negotiations, and is proposing some changes of its own. One point Tacoma makes is that they owe us, by terms of the Agreement, $123,000 which they would pay to American Whitewater to be held as a source of funds to be used for grants for purposes to be determined by FOG. It’s possible that a close reading of the entire Agreement could yield even more dollars than Tacoma has indicated. We need your eyes to be sure FOG and our allies get everything the original Agreement grants us.
Additionally FOG needs you to help us think creatively in asking for the kinds of things that would be best for the Green River and its Friends. Some items in the original Agreement no longer make sense and Tacoma recognizes that. We need to consider increased Land Use in the Middle Green River area and its effects on the river, its salmon and other aquatic life, and on aesthetics and recreation. And what about the increasing impacts on water quality and adequate – even optimal – flows on the Green River? And think about the effects of Climate Change on this river – how can we work with Tacoma to make things better for the river and its ecosystem? For its wildlife and the humans who love it? Could the Green River be an example of how to think about other rivers of the State, to protect them all better for all of us and our wildlife and fish?
Please contact Friends of the Green to help with this new phase of our efforts.
For more information, please see the original FOG/Tacoma Agreement here:
Pat Sumption, president
Friends of the Green (Duwamish) River