Watershed Improvement District buys Tokul Creek water right from Weyerhaeuser
The Snoqualmie Valley Watershed Improvement District has acquired a water right, dated 1926, from Weyerhaeuser. The right, representing the authority to redirect a portion of water from the Snoqualmie River, previously supplied Weyerhaeuser's Snoqualmie Mill facility. The district plans to use it for irrigation supply and water rights mitigation to support agriculture in the Snoqualmie Valley.
"The Snoqualmie Valley is one of the most important agricultural areas in King County, and we are pleased to have secured this water right to provide water supply within the valley. We appreciate Weyerhaeuser's interest in supporting our efforts to keep agriculture viable," said district chairperson Siri Erickson-Brown.
The $340,000 purchase was funded through the Washington State Department of Ecology, which received funding from the State Legislature to support water supply and instream flow projects. This acquisition will support the establishment of a water bank within the Snoqualmie Valley district. Because of its early priority date, this right is senior to many of the existing water rights in the Valley.
The Snoqualmie Valley Watershed District was formed by approval of agricultural landowners in the Snoqualmie Valley by a vote of over 90 percent in the fall of 2015. The district's area includes approximately 14,000 acres from Fall City north to the King County line near Duvall. It is formed as an irrigation district under Washington law, with authority to address agricultural water supply, drainage, and related natural resource issues.
Although the district does have authority to collect a per-acre fee on all farm land within the district, it has not implemented one yet. A fee is likely to be imposed in 2017.
Weyerhaeuser previously transferred the water right into the state's Trust Water Right program, where it will remain until approved by the Department of Ecology for irrigation uses. The water right may be used directly for irrigation, or as mitigation to offset agricultural water uses further downstream.
Because future agricultural uses are downstream from the historic Weyerhaeuser diversion on Tokul Creek, a Snoqualmie River tributary, the acquisition will ensure an ongoing instream benefit to upper parts of the Snoqualmie River and Tokul Creek.
Learn more at www.svwid.com.