Donate Now! Subscribe

Washington Wild Coordinates Letter in Support of Protections for Cascade River, Green River, and Napeequa River

Today, Washington Wild sent a letter undersigned by 52 conservation, wildlife, and recreation organizations to the Washington Department of Ecology in support of the agency’s consideration of three rivers as Outstanding Resource Waters.

Green River, Photo by Steven Povlov

The Cascade, Green, and Napeequa Rivers in Washington state have been identified as high-quality waters and nominated for consideration to receive classification as an Outstanding Resource Water (ORW). This designation would provide extra protection from future sources of degradation. ORWs are considered an outstanding resource to the state due to their extraordinary water quality or ecological or recreational values. 

If designated as an ORW, these rivers would need to be maintained and protected from degradation. Washington has an abundance of high-quality waters, yet the Department of Ecology has not yet designated any Outstanding Resource Waters. 

The current consideration is taking place as part of the Department of Ecology’s Review of Surface Water Quality Standards, which the department undertakes every three years in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act. This is an essential process to identify priorities for work that needs to take place between 2022 and 2024.

The Cascade, Green, and Napeequa rivers all meet a number of criteria for ORW designation. All three river systems are located in protected areas, have excellent water quality and regionally unique recreational value, and have statewide ecological significance. Designating these river systems as ORW’s would benefit Washington’s communities, economy, wildlife, and salmon.

As impacts from climate change become increasingly more urgent, protecting our high-quality rivers and streams now is an essential investment for our future.