Water Quality Standards & Endangered Species Listing

Water Quality Standards & Endangered Species Listing

Water Quality Standards & Endangered Species Listing

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

On January 6th the Washington Cattlemen's Association and regional county affiliates will be hosting a meeting for ranchers and landowners to discuss water quality standards and stream protection. Jack Field, Executive Vice President of the WCA says that the meeting is in response to concerns from 32 land owners regarding letters they recently received from the state Department of Ecology about the potential of their operations to pollute streams. Field says the letters are nondescript and do not tell the land owner what the problem is.

FIELD: There's been a strong cry from landowners asking what's going on and wanting to have clarity brought to the issue. Unfortunately, there's just too much uncertainty right now.

The meeting will be held from 1:00 to 3:30 pm January 6 at the Washington Wheat Foundation Annex building in Ritzville. Executive Director of the Washington Agriculture Legal Foundation, Toni Meacham as well as Senator Mark Schoesler will be in attendance for a legislative discussion session.

Just prior to the Christmas holiday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would be going ahead with the listings of the White Bluffs bladderpod and the Umtanum desert buckwheat plants as endangered species, designating more than 2,700 acres of federally owned land in Franklin and Benton Counties as critical habitat. While Fish and Wildlife decided not to include 419 acres of private land, which had originally been included as part of the critical habitat designation for the two plants, there are still concerns over the manor in which the decision to list the plants as endangered was reached. Congressman Doc Hastings, who fought to stop the listing of the two plants, said this latest decision by the Service is a prime example of how the forty year old ESA is in need of reform.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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