Stormwater Stewardship Project
But It HARDLY RAINS here!
Stormwater management is about more than stormwater... (think streams and groundwater), more than runoff... (think water quality), and more than management... (think stewardship)!
Adopted in 2016, the City's first "Storm & Surface Water Master Plan" integrates these concepts and addresses the needs of 20 years of growth as well as changes in the climate and regulatory environment. (Click here or the link to left)
With the help of grant funding* for the Stormwater Stewardship project, planners and engineers from Herrera Environmental evaluated the City's facilities and operations while addressing problem areas identified in the 2014 Stormwater Management Needs Assessment-and provided strategies for how to pay for the work needed. Currently, all stormwater work is funded by our Sewer and Water Utilities.
Also, because individuals make choices in their homes and workplaces which either prevent or cause water pollution, education and outreach is always a component of stormwater management work.
All sources of water are vital to our future... including stormwater!
*Major grant funding obtained from Washington Department of Ecology's Centennial Clean Water Program.
As of 2017, the City's "Stormwater Stewardship" grant ended, and with it so did web updates and notifications. You can now follow Ann Soule's monthly Water Column blog by signing up at the Wordpress website: Water Column Site Blog entries are local to Sequim-Dungeness and cover water quality, climate change, water supplies, and more.
> The 2016 Water Year ended September 30th with 140% (above average) precipitation... but not enough was the frozen variety or the Dungeness River flow wouldn't be just 65% of normal.
> By the end of the 2016 calendar year Bell Creek was starting to flow in Happy Valley but disappears when it hits the flats around Highway 101... Take the Bell Creek Discovery Tour to learn what's up with that-and to help you predict when and where it will start flowing through Sequim again!
Fall 2016 Highlights
+ Key grant project deliverables of interest to Sequimites (click links for more info):
> First Stormwater Plan and Program, to be implemented gradually
> Water Quality Summary (PDF) for local streams
> Capital Improvement Plan to address drainage problems (Tables 5 and 6 in Plan (PDF))
> Funding Options (PDF)comprehensive stormwater management program
> Guidance materials for permit applicants:
- Guidance for small project permit applicants (PDF)
- Checklist for construction site inspections (PDF)
- Checklists for stormwater facility maintenance
> Outreach and Education report (PDF)
> Bell Creek awareness campaign including the "Discovery Tour"
> Flow report (PDF) on local creeks and ditches for calendar year 2015
+ Project staff greatly appreciates having help from more than a dozen storm-chasing volunteers who logged about 300 hours monitoring flows, analyzing data, and inventorying storm drains on city streets. We all thank you!!
+ The Interpretive Center at the Water Reuse Park (500 N Blake Avenue) will be staffed upon request as an education center for landowners wanting to learn how to manage drainage on their property-installing new facilities or maintaining existing ones.
+ Periodic rain kept small streams in the area flowing, except for dry Bell Creek which receives Reclaimed Water at Carrie Blake Park ponds.
+ The Dungeness River flow is literally "hanging in there" with a low-moderate rate of snowmelt thanks to low-moderate temperatures. Brown grass is the new green!
+ Low snowpack again this year doesn't bode well for area glaciers, which continue to recede.
+ Vital statistics through July 31, for the "water year" (started October 1st):
> Cumulative precipitation in Sequim: 19.7 inches (above average)
> Dungeness River stream height at USGS gage: 2.85 feet (well below average)
> Subscribers to the Listserve: 123
> Essays printed in the Sequim Gazette are now online in Ann's blog
> Visitors to the Interpretive Center (1 shift in July): 10 people + dogs
> Summer schedule: 2nd and 4th Thursdays only, 12-2 p.m.
+ Hmm - statistics wouldn't lie, would they?
> June seemed to keep its cool, "Juneuary" reputation- but it turns out the average temps were higher than long-term averages! The inch of rain we got, however, was right on par.
> It turns out that May was also warmer and much dryer than average, contrary to how it seemed...
> Guess our extra warm and dry April got my hopes up a little too much.
+ Grant applications for the large, off-stream storage reservoir submitted.
+ Vital stats through June 30, for the "water year" (started October 1st)
> Snow depth and Snow-water equivalent at Dungeness SNOTEL site: 0 inches
> Cumulative precipitation in Sequim: 19.4 inches (way above average)
> Dungeness River stream height at USGS gage: 3.26 feet (well below average, due to below-average air temp, less snowmelt, and not much snow!)
> Subscribers to the Listserve: 118
Visitors to the Interpretive Center (3 shifts): 16 people + dogs
> Summer schedule starts in July: 2nd and 4th Thursdays only, 12-2 p.m.
+ Thanks to a city promotional workshop, Sequim's love-hate relationship with rain will be immortalized with illustrations of a shining sun on our sidewalks - that only appears when it's wet! Watch for it... when it's raining!
+ National Drinking Water Week was celebrated locally (by chance) with our wonderful Irrigation Festival - ironic, and convenient!
+ Our irrigators and salmon-watchers were all glad for a cool May, after our hot April that melted nature's reservoir - the mountain snowpack.
+ Vital statistics through May 31, for the "water year" (started October 1st)
> Snow depth and Snow-water equivalent at Dungeness SNOTEL site: 0 inches
> Cumulative precipitation in Sequim: 18.4 inches (way above average)
> Dungeness River gage height: 3.6 feet (below average flow, due to below average temps and less snowmelt)
> Subscribers to the Listserve: 118
> Visitors to the Interpretive Center (4 shifts): 22 people + dogs
+ April showers brought... A Plan! City Council unanimously adopted the Storm and Surface Water Master Plan on April 11.
> It was agreed that implementation of "Tier A" recommendations would be accomplished over three years with no additional revenue (i.e., no stormwater fees) other than from a grant. Activities would bring the City into compliance with maintenance of city facilities, inspection of private facilities, and water quality requirements.
> Remaining activities in the Stormwater Stewardship project include agreements for maintenance coordination with water partners such as the irrigators and the County, and developing ordinance language as necessary to implement the adopted Plan.
+ The first week of May is National Drinking Water Week... just in time to celebrate the contributions from irrigation ditches to our drinking water supply! Stormwater is also important, as long as it's cleaned up before we pump it back out!
> Click here to see historic Gazette articles on the subject by yours truly, from 1993 (PDF)and 2003 (PDF)
+ Vital statistics through April 30, for the "water year" (started October 1st)
> Snow depth at Dungeness SNOTEL site (elev. 4,010 ft.): 0 inches (but still apparent on north slopes and at higher elevations)
> Snow-water equivalent: 0 inches (melted out 3 weeks sooner than on average for this site)
> Cumulative precipitation in Sequim: 17.8 inches (way above average)
> Dungeness River gage height: 3.4 feet (typical mid-winter, before snowmelt really gets started)
> Subscribers to the Listserve: 119
> Visitors to the Interpretive Center (2 shifts): 7 people + dogs
+ Storm and Surface Water Master Plan up for adoption in April
+ Sequim Gazette Op-Ed for March addresses water quality - view it here
+ Vital statistics through March 31, for the "water year" (started October 1st)
> Snow depth at Dungeness SNOTEL site (elev. 4,010 ft.): 16 inches
> Snow-water equivalent: 7.6 inches (above average)
> Cumulative precipitation in Sequim: 17.1 inches (above average)
> Dungeness River gage height: 3.35 feet (typical mid-winter)
> Subscribers to the Listserve: 119
> Visitors to the Interpretive Center (4 shifts): 12 people + dogs
+ Storm and Surface Water Plan up for adoption - click here to view
> Planning Commission unanimously agreed to forward the Plan to Council
> Public Hearing with City Council scheduled for April 11, 2016
> Paper copies available at the Sequim Library, Civic Center, and the City Interpretive Center
> Watch the Events page for additional outreach
> See the Plan page for information on making comment
+ Numbers for Leap Day, February 29 (official "Water Year" is October 1 - September 30):
> Current snow depth at Dungeness SNOTEL site (elev. 4,010 ft.): 14 inches
> Current snow-water equivalent: 5.5 inches (average)
> Cumulative precipitation in Sequim: 14.5 inches (still above average)
> Dungeness River gage height: 3.4 feet (typical mid-winter)
> Subscribers to the Listserve: 120
> Visitors to the Interpretive Center (4 shifts in Feb.): 11 people + some dogs
January 2016 Highlights
+ Hardy storm-chasing volunteers finished a year of monthly field work!
> A blizzard of thanks to Peggy McClure, Janet and Bernie Bruening, Linda White, Bob Phreaner, Budd Nash, Kay Dill, David Kolbo, Pete Sekac, Scott Chichester, Dave Shreffler, and Shane Greenwalt - and Streamkeepers of Clallam County for data entry and major project support
+ Speaking of volunteers, Tim Fortman is now assisting with Bell Creek streamflow data analysis to see how City reclaimed water flow augmentation helped the creek during the drought
+ Storm and Surface Water Plan to go before City Council in March - watch for announcements
+ Numbers for end of January (official "Water Year" is October 1 - September 30):
> Current snow depth at Dungeness SNOTEL site (elev. 4,010 ft.): 22 in.
> Current snow-water equivalent: 7.3 inches (~50% greater than average)
> Cumulative precipitation in Sequim: 14.3 inches (still above average)
> Dungeness River gage height on January 31: 4.3 feet (typical post-storm)
> Subscribers to the Listserve: 121
> Visitors to the Interpretive Center (3 shifts in Jan.): 6 people, 1 dog
Highlights for December and 2015
+ Is 6.14 inches of rain in December a highlight for you? Does it help to know it was the wettest month AND year for Sequim?
> We got a record-shattering 23.07 inches Jan.-December 2015!
+ What about this: in spite of all that rain it was also the hottest year on record!
> The average annual temperature* was 50.97 degrees F
> The next warmest year was in 2002, at 50.0 degrees F
+ Recall that a drought was declared last March which lasted through the summer... With so much rain, how could that be?
> Because the drought declaration was for low snowpack (not low rainfall). Summer snowmelt directly affects water supplies in streams and aquifers.
*Average monthly temp based on average daily temp. All data from: WRCC
+ Numbers for end of December (official water year is October 1 - September 30):
> Cumulative snow depth at Dungeness SNOTEL site: 26 inches
> Cumulative snow-water equivalent: 6.1 inches (about 2x the average)
> Cumulative precipitation in Sequim: 12.7 inches (way above average)
> Dungeness River gage height on December 31: 3.2 feet (about normal)
> Subscribers to the Listserve: 117
> Visitors to the Interpretive Center (2 shifts only in Dec.): 4 people, 1 dog
+ Greater than average rainfall since Halloween gave Bell Creek what it needed to flow through town. For two weeks, that is-now it's dry again! (December 2)
+ Staff and contractors presented funding strategies for the Storm and Surface Water Plan (PDF) to the Planning Commission on November 17th
> Staff proposal: implement Tier A over 3 to 5 years with existing resources
> Report progress and obstacles to Council annually
+ City Council approved a letter to the President of the U.S. (PDF) urging strong action at the Climate Meetings in Paris
+ Water Matters column in the Sequim Gazette continues
> Originator Jane Iddings hands column to Ann Soule after November
+ Numbers for end of November (water year is October 1 - September 30):
> Cumulative snow depth at Dungeness SNOTEL site: 10 inches
> Cumulative snow-water equivalent: 2.3 inches (380% of average)
> Cumulative precipitation in Sequim: 6.56 inches
> Dungeness River gage height on November 30: 3.2 feet (equal to long-term average)
> Subscribers to the Listserve: 114
> Visitors to the Interpretive Center (3 shifts only): 11 people, 3 dogs
+ The Stormwater Stewardship project goes hunting... for funding options to help manage water resources in Sequim!
+ It's grant application season, so staff is weighing funding opportunities that address project needs.
+ As the "water year" starts this month, streamflows still low:
> Dungeness River less than 100 cubic feet per second most of the month (far below long-term average)
> Halloween storm gave the River a boost: flow jumped to 1200 cfs
> Also gave us a good first snowpack: over 14" (photo by Kay)
> Alas, Bell Creek is still dry through town
+ Check out Water Matters, a new column on WATER in the Gazette!
+ now open Thursdays 12-2 p.m. only, or by appointment. Come down for coffee, cookies and conversation!
> 18 visitors in October, 113 subscribers to Listserve
+ New video features City crews managing our water!
+ Staff and Herrera presented to City Council (PDF) on current Operations and proposed levels of service:
> Tier A, needed to meet requirements
> Tier B, likely to be mandated
> Tier C, anticipating and reducing risk
+ Volunteer monitors captured the tiny rise in flow from storms
> Dungeness River reached historic low flow (see graph)
> View a real-time graph
+ Reclaimed water projects featured on tour with state budget writers from Olympia-see Facebook post
+ Bell Creek Discovery Tour permanent educational signs installed
+ Staff continue to work with local water managers, and to seek grant funding to help!
+ Interpretive Center now open: Thursdays 12-2 p.m. or by appointment
> 20 visitors in September, 110 subscribers to Listserve
+ City's reclaimed water utilized to supplement Bell Creek flow and assist local dairy - see article in the PDN and watch the video
+ Coffee with the Mayor at the Interpretive Center drew 15 attendees to discuss drought, irrigation, and water! (among other things)
+ City Council heard about capital project priorities for stormwater from staff and consultants
> Presentation posted at the Photo/Video Gallery
+ August ended with a bang of a storm: about 1/4-inch per day in some locations.
> Volunteers monitored flows but didn't find much-probably because the ground is so thirsty!
+ Over 30 visitors to the Center in August, 111 subscribers to the Listserve
July 2015 Highlights
+ Draft Master Plan schedule (PDF) for adoption announced (see below and above for links to Plan)
- Focus sessions with City Council on capital projects (August 24) and operations (September 14)
- Funding strategy development this Fall, review by Planning Commission and Council late Fall/ early Winter
- Also refer to Events page
+ "Coffee with the Mayor" scheduled for the City Interpretive/Outreach Center on August 6 and 20, 8:30 a.m., 500 N Blake Avenue
+ Presentations to the Planning Commission and City Council continued, plus Sequim Noon Rotary
+ Working directly with Homeowner Associations and other partners on stormwater management and water conservation
+ 30 visitors to the Interpretive Center and 106 subscribers to the project Listserve
June 2015 Highlights
+ Draft Master Plan presented to Planning Commission and Council, with follow-up meetings for both to come in July and August (see Events page)
+ Acceptance by Council of Plan recommendations anticipated in September
+ Funding strategies for accepted recommendations to be developed this Fall
+ Three presentations to local groups and homeowner associations... water management planning is very well received so far, with the drought we're already experiencing
+ 18 comments received on the Plan to date (view a summary (PDF))
+ Volunteers continue to measure flows in ditches and streams in town
+ 37 visitors to the Interpretive Center in June
+ **100** subscribers now to the project Listserve!
May 2015 Highlights
+ Draft Master Plan released
+ Bell Creek Discovery Tour Challenge ended May 25
> 30 participants, 17 tour sheets submitted
> Winner of the Nourish dinners: Phil and Teri Martin
> Tour and smart phone app will stay in place indefinitely (maintenance help welcome!)
+ Staff met with irrigators, homeowners associations, West Sound stormwater managers workgroup, and presented to Sequim Chamber of Commerce
+ A booth at the Irrigation Festival Family Fun Day drew folks interested in drainage, Bell Creek, the drought, and other water-related topics
+ Interpretive Center visitors numbered ~25 in May
+ 82 (and counting) subscribers to project Listserve
April 2015 Highlights
+ Outreach season has begun! Staff presented to the Sequim Assn. of Realtors, Planning Commission, and City Council this month - in preparation for the public review release in late May of our Draft Storm and Surface Water Master Plan
> Complete outreach schedule on the Events page
+ The Bell Creek Discovery Tour was launched on Earth Day, April 22. View details!
+ Continued discussions with multiple water management partners regarding winter runoff as well as summer shortages
+ Interpretive Center continues to draw visitors, 26 in April
+ 74 subscribers to Listserve
March 2015 Highlights
+ Storm and Surface Water Master Plan schedule set
> Planning Commission and City Council to hear first findings in April
> Public comment period opens in late May
+ Near "25-year" storm attacks Sequim, March 15-16, with up to 2.3 inches of rain in 24 hours!
> Reclaimed water plant spiked at 4.3 million gallons/day rate, for a short period (normal winter flow is 0.6 MGD)
> Storm-chasing volunteers resort to photos at several sites, rather than entering flows too forceful and dangerous to measure in-stream
> Flood management measures effective; new issues emerge
+ Drought declared in Dungeness Watershed due to meager snow pack at high elevations; City focusing on potential new uses of reclaimed water
+ Outreach: New virtual tour (see image) at this link Sequim's Water Cycle: A Story Map
+ Interpretive Center sees 2-4 new visitors each opening; 70 subscribers to project listserve
+ Bell Creek awareness campaign to launch in April... watch for signs!
February 2015 Highlights
+ Another "2-year" storm struck-this one with more force-as February came to a close
> New management measures using storage capacity in Sequim Bypass prevented flooding irrigation ditches near 7th Avenue
> More than normal runoff from western Happy Valley and Bell Hill in the County caused problems on Rhodefer, Hammond, and N Blake. Damage was mostly minor.
> The City's reclaimed water plant went from 0.6 million gallons per day (MGD) to almost 2 MGD-the additional burden coming from unapproved stormwater connections to the sewer lines
> Storm-chasing volunteers captured data from runoff flowing in streams and ditches around town
+ Prize-winning 3rd graders had a smelly but enlightening field trip to the Water Reclamation Facility and Reuse Park
+ Interpretive Center: 28 visitors, 1 event, and 66 subscribers to the project Listserve
+ Upcoming in March: Water quality report, Regulatory gap analysis, Master plan roll out schedule
January 2015 Highlights
+ The first strong storm of the season hit early on January 5th
> With over 1" of rain in 12 hours this qualifies as a "2-year" storm (occurring on average every two years according to historical record since 1980)
> "Minor" flooding ensued, with little nuisance except for those navigating W Fir St., E Hammond, or walking at Carrie Blake ponds or near Bell Creek!
+ The first "Bellweather" award went to Tobey Clarkin for guessing most accurately the date Bell Creek started running for the season (December 9th)
> Helen Haller 3rd graders in Ms. Luengen's class won in the kids' division
+ Engineering consultants completed a draft water quality assessment and regulatory compliance strategy
+ Interpretive Center: 18 visitors, 3 meetings, 1 event
+ 63 subscribers to the project Listserve
**In support of the educational aspects of the project, the City's Interpretive Center at the Water Reuse Demonstration Site is open to the public upon request. (500 N Blake Avenue, at the east end of Fir St.)
Residents and those involved in site development are encouraged to stop by when it's open to view displays and videos and learn more about:
- Bell Creek natural and human history
- Rain Garden information and other techniques for reducing runoff
- The Water Reuse Demonstration Site
- The Stormwater Stewardship project and Master Planning process
- Volunteer opportunities-especially if you like to get wet!
- Many other educational resources and activities for kids
A list of all surface water events and opportunities may be found here.
Contact Ann Soule, Resource Manager, 360-582-2436 or email Ann Soule.