Tag Archives: Hood Canal Integrated Watershed Action Plan

Hood Canal restoration being outlined in a new plan

Hood Canal Coordinating Council is developing an “Integrated Watershed Action Plan” to dovetail with related work being done by the Puget Sound Partnership.

An outline of the action plan, titled “A Vision for Hood Canal,” was discussed at today’s meeting of the coordinating council, which is made up of county commissioners and tribal officials in Kitsap, Mason and Jefferson counties.

Scott Brewer, director of the council, told me that actions to address low-oxygen problems in Hood Canal will be rolled into this watershed plan — but specific projects will move forward on their own time tables.

A new sewage-treatment plant in Belfair is expected to reduce nitrogen flowing into Lower Hood Canal. Nitrogen has been determined to be a key factor in creating low-oxygen conditions in this region of the canal, which gets very little flushing.

Other sewage-treatment plants are being considered in Hoodsport, Potlatch and the Skokomish Reservation, all in Mason County, along with a single system for Dosewallips State Park and possibly Brinnon in Jefferson County.

Immediate actions include:

  • Making sure people understand the basics of septic system maintenance,
  • Continued funding for a low-interest loan program for septic upgrades (See Shorebank),
  • Support for the Working Forest Initiative to maintain forestlands in the Hood Canal region,
  • A request for research into the effectiveness of nitrogen-removal septic systems,
  • And a request for research into the extent that alder trees can increase the flow of nitrogen into Hood Canal and whether to pursue changes in forest management.

The action plan contains a “watershed assessment,” which will describe a “desired future condition” for Hood Canal along with factors that need to be addressed to reach measurable goals. As the outlines states:

In a general sense, the hypothesis to be tested through the watershed assessment is whether ecosystem function throughout the Hood Canal watershed can be protected and restored, and water pollution reduced, while at the same time accommodating expected future population growth. More specifically, the desired future condition will describe healthy habitat and life histories of target populations and other habitat and socioeconomic conditions.

The plan’s description of desired future conditions will be used as a template against which to compare current conditions, for purposes of identifying limiting factors and strategies to correct them. The plan’s description of desired future conditions will be based on a reconstruction of historic conditions, taking into account changes that are irreversible.

For further details, check out materials provided for today’s meeting on the home page of the Hood Canal Coordinating Council.