Map by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula 
News Group

Map by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

Clallam County seeks grant for reservoir

Commissioners OK pre-applications for water supply project off River Road

Clallam County is seeking a $9 million grant in funding for the Dungeness Off-Channel Reservoir.

The three commissioners on Feb. 18 approved pre-application papers for the long-planned water supply project off River Road southwest of Sequim.

County hydrogeologist Carol Creasey said the four-year grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office would cover a “major part” of construction.

If approved, Clallam County would use a portion of a $4.09 million streamflow restoration grant it previously received from the state Department of Ecology to cover the $1.35 million, or 15 percent, match.

“We don’t have to worry about the match,” Creasey told commissioners on Feb. 18.

“The (grant) basically will be used for construction for the reservoir at River Road.”

The 88-acre reservoir would be used to boost streamflows in the lower Dungeness River in the late summer and early fall by up to 25 cubic feet per second, according to a project description.

Dungeness River flows dropped to 58 cubic feet per second during the last major drought in 2015.

Benefits of the reservoir include improved salmon habitat, flood management, aquifer recharge, a climate-resilient water supply and recreation, proponents say. The 1,500 acre-foot reservoir and a 396-acre neighboring parcel would be transferred from the state Department of Natural Resources to the county and become a county park.

Creasey estimated that the total project cost would be between $25 million and $30 million. The timeline for construction largely depends on grant funding, she said.

“If we got all the funding, we could have it done in five years,” Creasey said in a telephone interview.

The Washington Water Trust is helping the county apply for the $9 million Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office, Creasey said.

Grant application forms are due Feb. 23. The funding will be awarded in 2021, Creasey said.

In related news, commissioners on Feb. 18 discussed a $261,100 agreement with Washington Water Trust to provide extra capacity and expertise for the reservoir project. No commissioner objected to the proposed agreement with the nonprofit that works to restore the rivers and streams in the state.

Creasey said the water trust has helped the county apply for other grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Ecology and Floodplains by Design.

Under the terms of the proposal, the Washington Water Trust will help county staff with project management, land acquisition, permitting, design, outreach and education, water rights issues, agreements with reservoir partners and funding.

County partners include DNR, Clallam Conservation District, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, city of Sequim, Dungeness Water Users Association and Ecology.

Commissioner Mark Ozias suggested a meeting with Washington Water Trust officials “just to have little opportunity for familiarity and question and answer, particularly given the sharing of project management responsibilities.”

“There are several aspects of the project that are sort of moving on independent arcs,” Ozias said.

“This one is making sure that all the partners are organized so that by the time we’re starting construction we know how it’s going to work.”

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