Yakima Herald-Republic: Counties team up to help sell Yakima River Basin water plan

by David Lester

Yakima Herald-Republic

March 20, 2012

YAKIMA, Wash. — Now the selling job begins.

Various groups supporting an ambitious plan to expand water storage and provide environmental benefits in the Yakima River Basin are ready to spend money to build support for the plan locally and with state and federal lawmakers.

Yakima County commissioners on Tuesday approved an agreement with Kittitas and Benton counties to contribute $10,000 each to the public outreach effort. Basin irrigation districts will contribute another $30,000 to the effort, according to Ron Van Gundy, a consultant to the Roza Irrigation District.

The three counties plan to hire a government relations firm to seek Congressional and state legislative support for the plan, which was drafted over more than a two-year period.

Michael Garrity, representing the conservation group American Rivers and a member of the work group that devised the plan, said the groups plan outreach to other environmental organizations.

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