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News Articles Featuring WA Wild Bring Much-Needed Attention to Pending Oustanding Resource Waters Designations

Photo: Napeequa River Valley, Kyle McCrohan

Skagit Valley Herald reporter, Emma Fletcher-Frazer, recently reached out to WA Wild Executive Director, Tom Uniack, to discuss the Department of Ecology’s pending Outstanding Resource Water (ORW) designations.

Although Washington has an abundance of high-quality waters in need of protection, to date, Ecology has not designated a single ORW. WA Wild believes that needs to change, so beginning in 2021, we’ve built a coalition of 144 stakeholders and conservation groups from around the state in support of establishing Washington’s first-ever ORWs.


[It’s important to protect watersheds that are in good shape before they become degraded and require restoration.] “You want to do preventive medicine so that you don’t have to be in the emergency room.”
Tom Uniack, WA Wild Executive Director


Photo: The Cascade River flowing through Marblemount, Everyone’s Travel Club

Through a series of letters, our coalition has nominated the Cascade River (Skagit County), Green River (Skamania and Lewis counties), and Napeequa River (Chelan County). Upon review, WA Wild’s nominees were deemed eligible, and Ecology will consider official ORW designation later this year.

[The Cascade River and its watershed are significant to the tribe … Marblemount was originally an Upper Skagit fishing village] “Water is a precious resource, a very limited resource. We have to do what we can and need to act before it’s too late.”
—Scott Schuyler, WA Wild Board Member & policy representative for the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe

Following publication in the Skagit Valley Herald, The Seattle Times also picked up the story. Ecology will be opening a public comment period this summer, so we are thrilled this issue is gaining the attention it deserves. Stay tuned for an action alert to raise your voice in support of ORW designation once the public comment period opens.

Read the full article at Skagit Valley Herald or The Seattle Times.