From the State of Our Watersheds: wells on the Kitsap Peninsula increase 300 percent

Suquamish wells

In the recently released State of Our Watersheds report, the Suquamish Tribe reported a 300 percent increase in exempt wells on the eastern portion of the Kitsap peninsula. The  animation  below illustrates this drastic impact to salmon:

From the report itself:

Between 1980 and 2010, there was an increase of about 300% in the number of permit-exempt wells in East Kitsap focus area. In the Port Madison Water Resource Area (PMWRA), the increase was over 337%. Exempt wells are not subject to the same restrictions and regulations as other water diversions in Washington State. They contribute to the overappropriation of groundwater and to the decline of aquifers. The cumulative effect of exempt wells reduces water levels in wetlands, springs, streams and rivers. Local zoning and development ordinances rarely provide sufficient protection for groundwater and its critical contribution to summer base flows.

In Chico Creek, minimum instream flows were not met from June to September in the 13 years for which data was available. Grover’s Creek in the PMWRA appears to be similarly impacted (Suquamish Tribe’s John O’Leary, personal communication). Many studies in the Pacific Northwest have documented the relationship between low stream flow and poor salmonid survival (Quinn and Peterson, 1996; Mathews and Olson, 1980; Hartman and Scrivener, 1990).

One Response to From the State of Our Watersheds: wells on the Kitsap Peninsula increase 300 percent

  1. Concerned Citizen says:

    This is alarming. What’s harder to comprehend is when you have those with the most to lose (fishermen) throwing rocks at the people bringing the message. See for example Jim Goerg’s attack on this issue in his monthly editorial of “The Reel News”, at http://www.thereelnews.com/editors-creel.html titled “Quite Frankly, Enough Is Enough”. With a readership of over 35K+ Mr. Goerg is doing a disservice to those by attacking Mr. Frank on his crusade to help those who seem to still persecute him after all these years.

    I commend the tribes for trying to bring this important issue forward, as it should be important for everyone who views salmon & steelhead as important (culturally, economically, or otherwise). The tribes gave up quite a bit for some guarantees that are now being unfulfilled, so good luck.

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