Through cooperation and partnership among stakeholders over the past two decades, the Walla Walla Basin has demonstrated a collective commitment to enhance flows and improve water management practices for the benefit of fish, farms, and local communities.
Building upon prior successes, the Walla Walla Watershed Management Partnership was authorized by 2009 legislation as a unique local water management pilot program for the State of Washington. The Partnership’s innovative program was developed by local stakeholders in cooperation with the Washington State Department of Ecology. This effort builds on the belief that the key to augmenting stream flows for fish is for water users to employ greater local control to create flexibility beyond what conventional water management regulations can deliver.
The Partnership took shape as a nine-member Board with two advisory committees—the Policy Advisory Group and the Water Resource Panel--and a lean professional staff. The Board and committees collectively provide a unique local governance structure including participation from diverse stakeholders: water users, environmental interests, tribes, citizens, local, state, and federal governments, conservation districts, Oregon entities, and higher education. Coordinating shared governance of local water resources with the Department of Ecology, the Partnership works with water users to develop mutually beneficial outcomes for farms, fish, and communities in the Watershed.
In 2009, the Partnership initiated its strategic planning effort to consider Partnership-specific authorities, as well as complementary basin efforts and initiatives. The strategic plan for 2009-2012 Strategic Plan was approved by the Partnership Board on September 7, 2010.
The Strategic Plan Update 2012-2015 was completed and approved by the Partnership Board on October 2, 2012. The updated plan builds on the Partnership's initial three years of work during the first strategic planning effort, and guides the Partnership's actions over the following three years.
The Strategic Plan Update 2016-2019 was completed and approved by the Partnership Board on July 5, 2016. The updated plan guides the Partnership through the end of its 10-year pilot period in 2019, and considers how to move beyond initial successes.