Department of Ecology News Release - June 16, 2015

Tom Tebb named director of Office of Columbia River
Yakima Valley native to lead water supply efforts in the Columbia Basin

YAKIMA  – Tom Tebb was named Tuesday to head the Washington Department of Ecology’s Office of Columbia River. As director of the office, Tebb will oversee water supply projects along the Columbia River that are essential to the farmers, residents, tribes and environment of the region.

Tebb, a native of the Yakima Valley, has served as regional director of Ecology’s Central Regional Office in Yakima since 2008. He is an experienced geologist and hydrogeologist who began his Ecology career in 1992 with the Nuclear Waste Program.

No one is better prepared to take on the responsibilities of leading the Office of Columbia River than Tebb, said Maia Bellon, Ecology’s director.

“Washington is facing an unprecedented drought in 2015 and ongoing challenges to meet the needs of water users in the decades ahead,” Bellon said. “This position calls for a leader who has earned the trust of the many communities that depend on the Columbia, and a person who can develop new ideas and new approaches to managing water resources. Tom is going to do a terrific job in tackling these issues.”

Tebb succeeds Derek Sandison, who Gov. Jay Inslee appointed as director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture in May. Sandison was an architect of the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan and played major roles in developing water supplies such as the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Project.

“Derek’s work in the Yakima Basin and the Odessa has given us a road map to begin addressing water supplies in the region,” Tebb said. “He has left an important legacy that I will make every effort to build upon.”

The Office of Columbia River is a pivotal player in navigating the complex legal, environmental and political issues to improve water supplies, said Scott Revell, district manager of the Roza Irrigation District and a participant with the Yakima Implementation Committee that advises Ecology on the Yakima River Integrated Water Resources Plan.

“We’ve made significant progress on many of the long-term water supply challenges facing Central and Eastern Washington,” Revell said. “Tom Tebb has shown that he understands these complicated issues and can bring people together to find solutions and keep us moving forward.”


Andrew Wineke, communications, 360-407-6149, @ecologyWA