Public Outreach and Education
Part of the Mission of the Methow Watershed Council is to provide "on-going public education and awareness information" regarding water use management in the Methow Valley. To that end, the MWC hosts free public community discussions regarding water resources, voluntary water conservation incentives and efficient water management.
John Crandall: Fish & Flows - Exploring the Watery World of Fish Habitat in the Methow
The Methow Watershed Council (MWC) was pleased to host an informational expert presentation by John Crandall, aquatic ecologist with the Methow Restoration Council and Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation. The talk is entitled “Fish and Flows: Exploring the Watery World of Fish Habitat in the Methow.” John is an aquatic ecologist that explores fish response to habitat restoration and water quality.
The talk covered seasonal variations in streamflow that create a mosaic of habitat for fish to use throughout their lives. Water depth, velocity, and clarity all influence the quality of fish habitat. Different species and life stages of fish will respond to changes in water levels in slightly unique ways. The physical habitat in streams is also another important aspect of fish habitat that can greatly influence fish growth and survival.
The presentation was held on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 7 P.M., at the Twisp Grange. Event Flier
Video Courtesy County Watch
Video Courtesy County Watch
Video courtesy of County Watch
ARE WE RUNNING OUT OF WATER?
LEARN ABOUT WATER AVAILABILITY IN THE METHOW
- NOW & IN THE FUTURE
How will water availability affect development in the Methow Valley over the next 10 years and beyond? The Methow Watershed Council hosted a series of meetings to present a new analytic tool, discuss the impacts of Okanogan County’s and the Department of Ecology’s recent decisions regarding closed basins, and introduce Water 2066, the council’s community-based, long-range water planning project.
Watch the video linked here for more details about what the meeting covered. Visit the Water Accounting Project page for further information or to get involved.
For more information, click to send us an email.
ROCKING & ROLLING ~ SEDIMENT IN THE METHOW RIVER
Ms. Bountry discussed sources of sediment and why it is so important to providing vital habitat in the Methow River. She showed changes on historical aerial photos to show how sediment moves through the river corridor and why certain areas gain or lose more sediment during floods. She talked about an active research project with pit tags in rocks that are tracking when and where sediment moves on the Methow River, and led discussion on how sediment trapping affects reservoir storage and water supply in our western rivers today and in the future.
Ms. Jennifer Bountry has worked as a hydraulic engineer for over 20 years in the Sedimentation and River Hydraulics Group at the Bureau of Reclamation in Denver, CO. Ms. Bountry works on numerical modeling for river restoration studies, river restoration planning for Native American Tribes, and reservoir sedimentation studies. Ms. Bountry was recently named the Federal Engineer of the Year for her effort on the Elwha Dam Removal Project and serves as the chair of the Dam Decommissioning Committee for U.S. Society of Dams.
Fire and Water: How Fires Affect Methow Valley Streamflows
The presentation by Chris Konrad, Research Hydrologist at Washington Water Science Center, explored how fires affect the Methow Valley streamflows. Wildfire is a recurring process in forests and shrub-steppe in the Methow River watershed. The effects of wildfire extend from the loss of vegetation and changes in the underlying soil to the way that water is stored on and flows through the landscape. The hydrologic effects of wildfire are particularly important because of increased risk from flooding and debris flows but also increased water availability. The response of Methow valley rivers and streams to wildfire in the past provides evidence for what the future may hold for the valley as wildfire continues to be a prominent process in the ecosystem.
PUBLIC MEETING New Restricted Areas of Closed Basins
The Methow Watershed Council hosted a Public Meeting (Press Release here) with Trevor Hutton, Water Resources Program, Central Regional Office Section Manager; and Andy Hover, Okanogan County Commissioner on January 17, 2019. Slides of Ecology's presentation can be seen here. Video provided courtesy of County Watch. Email us here to ask a question or join our mailing list.
Video Courtesy County Watch
Jason McCormick's Presentation on Water Banking
The Methow Watershed Council hosted a free public presentation on water banking by Jason McCormick, Certified Water Rights Examiner and principal of McCormick Water Strategies. The presentation was given at the Methow Valley Community Center on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 6-8 p.m. The presentation, “Looking Under the Hood of Water Banking", introduced us to the world of water banking, which is a broadly used term to describe a structured transactional environment where water is redistributed between sellers and buyers. Recently, water banking has been used as an effective tool to reallocate reliable senior water rights to new uses where legal water availability is limited. In this presentation, Jason walked us through several real-life examples of successful applications of water banking in the Yakima Basin to provide mitigation for rural permit-exempt groundwater and permitted uses. Water banking can be a very effective means of legally redistributing water amongst users, and may be a potential solution to help you make the most of your own water resources right here in the Methow Valley.
Presentation on the Trust Water Rights Program
The MWC and the Methow Conservancy co-sponsored a free public talk entitled, "How the Trust Water Rights Program Can Work for You." The presentation was given at the Methow Valley Community Center on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 7-8:30 p.m. Kristina Ribellia with Washington Water Trust helped us learn tips and tools to help better protect and manage water rights as she enlightened us on one of the best kept secrets: Washington State's Trust Water Rights Program. If you're not currently irrigating with a portion or all of your water rights or wish to take a break from irrigating in the future, then this is the program for you. "Use it, or lose it" is real. With the Trust Water Rights Program, we learned how to protect your water rights, while benefiting the environment and possibly your bottom line. Washington Water Trust is a non-profit organization that has utilized the Washington State Trust Water Rights program for nearly two decades to develop win-win solutions for fish, farms, and people.
Amy Snover's Presentation on Climate Change
The MWC sponsored a free public talk by Amy Snover, PH.D., Director of the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington. The presentation entitled, "Wetter, drier and hotter? What's in store for Methow waters?" was delivered at the Methow Valley Community Center on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. Change is in motion. The Northwest is warming, mountain snow and ice are declining and the timing of streamflow is changing. And more change is on the way - some already "baked in" by past greenhouse gas emissions, and more set in motion every day by ongoing greenhouse gas emissions. As our climate warms, our past experience about what to expect from our environment will no longer be a reliable guide. Until we update these expectations - about when and where snow will fall and rivers will flow, about how warm summers will be or what our summer demand for water will be - our plans, decisions and investments will be increasingly mis-aligned with the world around us. Amy Snover discussed what we know, and how, about what's in store for Methow waters in the face of a changing climate.
Chris Konrad's Presentation on Hydraulic Continuity
On October 12, 2017, the MWC sponsored a free public presentation by Chris Konrad, Reseach Hydrologist with US Geological Survey entitled, "Visible and Invisible Rivers: Hydraulic contintuity between streamflow and groundwater in the Methow Valley." Hydraulic continuity is an important concept for both understanding and managing water in the Methow watershed. It express the connection between the amount of water at one place to the amount of water in another place. Nearly anything we care about in the Methow watershed depends on water. Water connects each of our most important concerns to the concerns of others - which leads to both conflict over uses of water but also collaboration across the community to preserve and protect shared values. In either case, an accurate understanding of how water flows through the watershed is a starting point for acknowledging how our values affect others and working through the hard issues.
Fall 2017 Community Water Discussions
The MWC sponsored a series of free community discussions about issues affecting water rights in the Methow Valley on September 10 in Methow, September 13 in Twisp, and September 14 in Mazama. Greg Knott, Chair of the MWC, provided a brief description of the Council and an update on recent Council activities. Natalie Kuehler, Attorney at Ryan & Kuehler, discussed how the recent Hirst court decision affects individual water rights locally. Andy Hover, Okanogan County Commissioner, explained the County’s response to the Hirst decision, (Ordinance 20), gave updated information on the current rate of county approvals, and led a discussion about zoning issues related to water rights. Questions and comments from the public were encouraged and appreciated.