City of Chehalis Contributes $10,000 to Chehalis Basin Partnership


The Chehalis City Council on Monday gave a $10,000 contribution to the Chehalis Basin Partnership.

The partnership was formed in 1998 as part of the Watershed Management Act and works to “provide a framework for local citizens, interest groups, and government organizations to work collaboratively to identify and solve water-related issues,” according to its website.

Chehalis City Manager Jill Anderson introduced the measure, which was approved unanimously by the council.

“The city has been approached by representatives of the Chehalis Basin Partnership to help fund the ongoing operations of this nonprofit organization that is made up of a variety of stakeholders, including cities, countries and the tribes,” Anderson said, adding later: “This (group) is basically a group where a dialogue can occur. The city has been part of the group since its inception and it is a place where they come together with consensus recommendations.”

She said the group has hit a point where it needs funding to support ongoing operations until the Department of Ecology, who the partnership is working with to create an ongoing funding flow, is available for future funding operations.

“We are one of the first of the member partnerships to consider funding,” Anderson said. “However, Lewis County, Grays Harbor County and the tribe have also provided either financial commitments or in-kind services over the course of the partnership.”

Kirsten Harma, the watershed coordinator for the Chehalis Basin Partnership, said this is the first time the organization has asked for cash from its partner municipalities in a “very long time.”

“Our base, minimum funding is $50,000 to support a part-time position, consultant fees and for refreshments at our meetings — so really bare-bones,” Harma said. “It’s kind of in flux right now. The last three years, we were entirely supported by the Department of Ecology. They provided support for our streamflow restoration planning. They gave us $100,000 a year, so we’ll scale it down and say we can continue running on $50,000 a year.”

When asked how the partnership helps out Chehalis specifically, Harma pointed to the streamflow restoration plan the state required the county to do, which affected all of the municipalities in the region.

She said the state requirement for the streamflow restoration plan was basically the state saying that it wasn’t going to let people continue to develop in rural areas unless they address water issues.

So development would have been stymied in the county “unless they know where their water is coming from and how it’s connected to streamflow and how that’s impacting salmon and other aquatic resources,” Harma said.

The Chehalis Basin Partnership used the watershed groups it had already formed to take on the responsibility of the streamflow restoration plan to the benefit of everyone in the county, Harma said.

“We will do (projects) locally,” she added. “We’ll find projects that work with our community. If we do that, we do not have to have rulemaking by the state.”

After the meeting, Harma sent a “thank you” note to Anderson that she then shared with other members of the partnership.

“This generous donation was made with the expectation that other Partners would contribute financially, and/or continue to contribute in-kind to this organization, and that we would continue to seek permanent funding through the Department of Ecology,” she wrote. “So another huge thank you to all of you! Together we can meet our goals for collaboratively addressing water resource challenges!”

Learn more about the Chehalis Basin Partnership online at