Watershed Alliance to hold open house

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WALLA WALLA — An organization tasked with finding new ways to manage water in the Walla Walla River basin will hold an open house Monday..

The Walla Walla Watershed Management Partnership will host the event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Water & Environmental Center at Walla Walla Community College, 500 Tausick Way.

Staff members will talk about programs the partnership has created to aid water rights holders and enhance river flows on the Washington side of the Walla Walla River basin. The new state Department of Ecology watermaster, Eric Hartwig, will also be on hand to meet community members.

Jay Manning with Cascadia Law Group will also make a presentation at 6:30 p.m. Manning previously served more than six years as director of Ecology and later as chief of staff for Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Created by an act of the state Legislature in 2009, the partnership is the only organization in the state authorized to implement a 10-year pilot program to explore new methods of managing water for the benefit of all who depend on the resource.

The partnership is governed by a nine-member board with representatives from local government, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, water right holders, environmental interests and citizens. It also has local technical expertise provided by members of its Water Resource Panel and broad stakeholder representation from members of its Policy Advisory Group.

In a release, Cathy Schaeffer, partnership executive director said the open house is intended to “broaden the understanding of water issues with a focus on flexible water use for the benefit of people, farms and fish.”

Information is available at 524-5216 or by emailing cathy.schaeffer@wwcc.edu.

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