Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

By Madysen McLain
Gazette Reporter 

Clean water projects receive state funding


July 18, 2019

Washington State Department of Ecology announced Whitman County will receive about two million dollars in grants for clean water projects.

Jessica Self, Palouse Conservation District grants and development manager, said the Whitman County Conservation District received three grants totaling $1 million.

She said $500,000 was awarded for direct seeding, a restoration process where farmers use a special drill to seed crops.

“It is a ‘not-killing-the-ground’ option,” Self said.

The grant is for a span of three years, and 12 landowners county-wide will seed more than 9,000 acres.

The project will also restore riparian buffers, a vegetated area near a stream, for three acres of Spring Flat Creek south of Colfax.

A $250,000 grant will go toward restoration of Paradise Creek between Pullman and Moscow, Self said.

She said there are already multiple projects funded by the Washington Department of Ecology and Department of Transportation in the Paradise Creek area, but they are spread out.

“This new project will focus on filling those gaps in the current projects,” Self said.

The project will plant trees along the creek to reduce soil erosion. She said once the three-year grant is over, the creek will have self-sustaining, continuous restoration.

The final $250,000 grant was awarded to the Palouse Conservation District, one out of the four conservation districts in Whitman County.

The grant will fund a project to educate landowners, residents and schools about research conducted on the North Fork Palouse River watershed.

Self said usually landowners come into the conservation office to talk about their needs, but this project would provide education to address those needs.

“We want to show people that conservation actually works,” she said.

The project will also restore seven acres of riparian areas and track water quality.

The City of Pullman also received $525,000 to design and construct a storm water decant facility, an operation that separates solids from liquids in wastewater. The total project will cost about $700,000.

According to the Washington Department of Ecology website, the existing facility is in need of major improvements and is not connected to the city’s sewer system.

To help water quality, the project will remove impure sediments from Pullman’s stormwater before it will go back into the Palouse River.

Also, Oakesdale received a $169,000 loan from the Department of Ecology to design a wastewater facility which is required by the state.

The Washington Department of Ecology’s Water Quality Program will offer about $183 million in grants and loans for 106 clean water projects around the state, according to a post from the Department of Ecology.

Funding for the clean water projects comes from state and federal funds. According to the Department of Ecology’s website, about 11 jobs were created in the state for every $1 million spent on building clean water infrastructure.

Projects will commence once agreements are finalized.


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