Whatcom County CAPR

Citizens Alliance for Property Rights

Sometimes, a Ditch is Just a Ditch.

Written By: admin - Feb• 26•12

SB (Senate Bill) 5292 – 2011-12

Exempting irrigation and drainage ditches from the definition of critical areas.

Revised for 2nd Substitute: Exempting certain structures that are constructed and maintained by irrigation districts and port districts from the definition of critical areas.



Dear Representatives Jason Overstreet and Vincent Buys, 42nd District,

My concern, shared by many, is that SB 5292 still limits the proposed critical area exemption (from Fish and Wildlife…Conservation Areas) to only those “artificial features or constructs…such as…drainage ditches that lie within the boundaries of and are maintained by a port district or an irrigation district or company.”

I propose that the same relief be allowed to thousands of farmers and other land owners, and public agencies, who have ditches to maintain, outside of these areas. Government regulators often classify ditches and other storm water conveyances as “fish habitat,” and require wide buffers, etc. This has happened quite a bit in Whatcom County.

After reviewing the latest information on the Legislature website today, I’m under the impression that this very narrow, arbitrary application of the exemption is still being proposed.

If the language will apply to all artificially created ditches, then all land owners and many public agencies will benefit, along with the general public. This is a much more reasonable and practical approach to reforming our existing over-regulation, which is one of the main reasons our economy is still mired in a recession. I’m copying a few local folks on this. I am sure most will support this. Please contact me if I can answer questions, and thanks for your continued interest. You can Contact me anytime.


Roger Almskaar


Roger Almskaar, Land Use Consultant

Contact through CAPRwc@gmail.com



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