Walla Walla Watershed Management Partnership: Cathy Schaeffer
Walla Walla Watershed Management Partnership: Cathy Schaeffer Cathy Schaeffer is the Executive Director of the Walla Walla Watershed Management Partnership, previously serving over the past decade as the Executive Director of the Walla Walla Watershed Alliance and Director of the Walla Walla County Watershed Planning Department. She is a key leader in the multi-year effort to partner with basin entities, Tribes and state agencies to implement a new way of managing water in the Walla Walla Watershed, building upon local cooperation so that people, rivers, farms and fish can all continue to share this valuable resource long into the future. Cathy comes from a five-generation farming family and holds a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Washington State University. Cathy is experienced in facilitating communication and coordination among local jurisdictions and regional planning efforts, contributing to the Walla Walla basin’s focus on balancing the current and future water needs of agriculture, tribal and environmental interests, and local governments. The Walla Walla Watershed Management Partnership is working to maintain a long term perspective, and embrace creative problem solving and fairness in a unique pilot program passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2009. This innovative voluntary program created under RCW 90.92 operates under the belief that the key to augmenting stream flows for fish is for water users to employ greater local control and flexibility beyond what conventional water management options and regulation can deliver. The Partnership is doing this by working with water users to develop and implement reach-scale “Flow from Flexibility” local water plans, by operation of the Walla Walla Water Bank, and through voluntary, market-based water transactions for the benefit of fish, farms and people.
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