Watershed Planning: Stemilt-Squilchuck
WRIA 40A (Water Resource Inventory Area) is made up of the drainage areas for Stemilt and Squilchuck Creeks in the Malaga area. This area is dominated by fruit orchards and is world famous for the cherries that are grown here. The need for reliable water supplies in order to irrigate the agricultural lands and provide some domestic water is vital for this area which only receives on average 8 inches of precipitation in the lower elevations. The area relies heavily on the snowpack for the majority of its water. To address current issues and future water demands watershed planning was initiated in 2005 by the Beehive Irrigation District, City of Wenatchee and Chelan County. Chelan County is the lead agency for the planning and implementation phases.
The Planning Unit is made up of a diverse group of stakeholders including irrigation districts, state and local agencies, orchardists, the local community council, local industrial manufacturer and private citizens. The Planning Unit elected to conduct the required water quantity component of watershed planning as required under RCW 90.82.070 (water quantity assessment) along with the optional multi-purpose water storage assessment.
In May 2007 the Stemilt-Squichuck (WRIA 40A) Watershed Plan was unanimously approved by the Planning Unit and in June it was approved by the Chelan County Board of Commissioners. Copies of the Plan and the assessments can be downloaded from this site or obtained from the Chelan County Natural Resources Department.
Stemilt-Squilchuck Community Vision and Conceptual Plan
In Spring 2007, Chelan County established the Stemilt Partnership (Partnership) which is a broad coalition of agriculture, wildlife, recreation, development, and conservation interests working together to prevent privatization of 2,500 acres of public land in the Stemilt basin. Protecting this land, currently owned by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), would ensure a healthy water supply, protect wildlife habitat, and provide recreation access in this growing community. The Partnership and Chelan County worked with DNR to stop the sale and pursue an alternate approach: creating a plan for the landscape based upon the needs and wants of the community. For more information, see the project description and maps on the Trust For Public Lands website.
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