Columbia River Task Force (CRTF)

This page is provided as an archive of past information and is not being updated.  For current information go to - Columbia River Water Management Program


The Columbia River Task Force is a joint executive/legislative policy group that will consider policy alternatives for the management of the Columbia River.

The goal of this joint process is the adoption of a new water management program for the Columbia River, recognizing that adequate water is needed to:

  • Achieve economic growth in Eastern Washington, and
  • Sustain endangered fish species in the river.

This will involve:

  • Reviewing the policies proposed by former Governor Locke
  • Considering feasible alternatives
  • Working to develop a near-term policy solution that reliably secures benefits for all parties.

Overall, the Task Force process is intended to improve understanding of available policy options and develop broader legislative support for practical approaches to managing the River’s water resources.

Concurrently, and in consultation with partners and stakeholders, the Governor's Office will take steps to further develop and prepare for implementation formal water agreements with a variety of partners.

Task Force Composition

The Columbia River Task Force is made up of:

  • Governor Christine Gregoire
  • Jay Manning, Ecology Director
  • Senator Jim Honeyford (R), District 15
  • Senator Bob Morton (R), District 7
  • Senator Erik Poulsen (D), District 49
  • Senator Craig Pridemore (D), District 34
  • Representative Bruce Chandler (R), District 15
  • Representative Bill Grant (D), District 16
    • Representative Timm Ormsby (D), District 3, will substitute for Mr. Grant as needed. 
  • Representative Kelli Linville (D), District 42
  • Representative Dan Newhouse (R), District 15

Task Force Timeline and Schedule

Executive and legislative officials will work to develop a common understanding of feasible water management alternatives.  The participants will meet with federal policy makers, tribal governments, irrigation districts, cities, PUDs, and other governments.

They will consider the scientific, legal and political constraints on state water resource decisions in the context of

  • Existing water needs
  • Water rights and uses
  • Hydropower system
  • Endangered species dependent upon the Columbia River.

With the support of a neutral facilitator, the participants will consider the CRI proposal and other strategies to address these constraints.

Note: not all meeting speakers have confirmed availability; efforts to accommodate schedules may result in some speakers sending substitutes, or in moving speakers between meetings. 

Past Information Posted to this Page

Draft substitute Bill S-4838.2/06

For hearing on SB 6581 in the Senate on 02/01/2006 

D-Caucus proposal - January 18, 2006

Based upon ongoing discussions by the CRTF, democratic members have developed the following draft.  The draft will be discussed at the January 20, 2006 meeting of the task force (see meeting information below).

CRTF Meeting

Meeting times and dates will be posted here as scheduled.

Draft Legislation - Columbia River Bill (Z-0966.2)

At the request of the Columbia River Task Force, the Department of Ecology has prepared draft legislation to define the elements of a new water resources management approach for the Columbia River.   If you have any questions or comments on the draft, please contact Gerry O'Keefe.

CRTF Draft Straw Proposal

The straw proposal reflects an effort to make the best use of time at the next meeting of the Columbia River Task Force.  Ecology is making this document available to the stakeholders who are following the Task Force deliberation via our web site to further facilitate communication among interested parties.  The department’s intent in offering the draft is to help focus the next Columbia River Task Force discussion on the issues that have come to the forefront in previous meetings.

Ecology remains fully committed to the Task Force effort. This draft represents the department’s effort to reflect the Task Force deliberations to the greatest extent possible.

October 31, 2005 Olympia, WA

  • Task Force meeting with Governor Gregoire to present their work and ideas.
  • Discussion of how to best to continue joint executive/legislative dialogue to develop policy legislation for the 2006 session.

October 24, 2005 Olympia, WA Agenda (117kb pdf)

August 30, 2005 Ellensburg, WA Agenda (108kb pdf)

July 28, 2005 Richland, WA Agenda (16kb pdf)

  • Discussion with Tribal Governments Yakima Nation Testimony (17kb pdf)
  • Presentation by county watershed managers
  • Listening to stakeholders:
    • Columbia Snake River Irrigators Association (Pat Boss and Dr. Darryll Olsen, invited)
    • American Rivers (Rob Masonis)
    • NW Food Processors Association (Craig Smith) Presentation (693kb pdf)
    • Lower Columbia River fisheries (Irene Martin)
    • Washington Farm Bureau (John Stuhlmiller)
    • Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association (Liz Hamilton)

June 28, 2005 Olympia, WA Agenda (107kb pdf)

  • Listening to the scientists:
    • University of Washington (Dr. James Anderson) Presentation (613kb pdf)
    • Fish Passage Center (Dr. Margaret Filardo) Presentation (335kb pdf)
    • National Academies of Science (Dr. Ernie Smerdon and Dr. Al Giorgi, invited) Presentation (222kb pdf)
  • Listening to governmental managers:
    • Reclamation (Bill McDonald)
    • Mid-Columbia PUDs (Denny Rohr, invited)
    • NOAA Fisheries (Bob Lohn, invited)
    • Irrigation Districts (Dick Erickson & Doug Hendrickson)
    • Municipal water (Gary Crutchfield & Jim Toomey, invited)

June 6, 2005 Olympia, WA Agenda (9kb pdf)

  • Framing the process thorough review the process purpose, outline, and timeline.
  • Review of Governor Gregoire’s principles. Governor's Principles (90kb pdf)