Sunday, April 5, 2009

SB 5944, implementing a demonstration project to reduce phosphorus loading in Lake Whatcom

Congratulations to sponsor Senator Ranker and co-sponsor Senator Brandland of the 40th and 42nd Legislative Districts on the passage of SB 5944!

Freshman Senator Kevin Ranker introduced SB 5944, Bill as Passed Legislature which implements a demonstration project to reduce phosphorus loading in Lake Whatcom.

Analysis of SB 5944

Description: Implementing a demonstration project to reduce phosphorus loading in Lake Whatcom

Pilot Project
: Silver Beach Creek (fecal coliform and phosphorus).

: (Final Bill Report SB 5944)

In 2007, the Legislature adopted ESSB 5372, creating the Puget Sound Partnership. The Partn ership is tasked with cleaning up and restoring Puget Sound by the year 2020…

The Partnership is a government agency that oversees the restoration of the environmental health of Puget Sound. The Partnership is charged with the duty of creating a strategic action agenda for the clean up of Puget Sound. The Legislature specified that the action agenda must:

1) Be based on science

2) Prioritize necessary actions and include clear, measurable goals for the recovery of Puget Sound by 2020

3) Create an approach that addresses the complex connections among the land, water, web of species and human needs (RCW 90.71.200(2)(a)

The Action Agenda highlights animal waste disposal as a considerable challenge in Whatcom County, explaining that nutrient loads to fresh water bodies impact aquatic life and water quality. In particular, low dissolved oxygen, mercury, and phosphorus in Lake Whatcom are listed as local threats to ecosystem benefits.

The Action Agenda
Action Agenda For Puget Sound

In Whatcom County, the Action Agenda recommends implementing a watershed management plan, implementing a stormwater runoff plan, and taking steps to manage on site sewage systems in the Lake Whatcom Watershed. The Lake Whatcom Watershed supplies fresh drinking water to half of the county’s population. Additionally, Lake Whatcom is the drinking water reservoir for the City of Bellingham.

Summary of Partnership role:

The Partnership must assist Bellingham and Whatcom County in implementing a demonstration program regarding phosphorus loading into Lake Whatcom. The Partnership must assist the city and county in securing funding from federal and non-governmental sources and work to secure funding commitments from the city and county as well. The demonstration program must include elements for prevention, education, compliance and monitoring to reduce to a minimum the introduction of phosphorus bearing materials into Lake Whatcom. Any grant made under this section must be matched by at least an equal amount from non-state sources.

Congratulations Senator Ranker! Latte Republic is looking forward to reviewing the draft pilot project.

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