WSDOT Seeks Comment On Proposed Outreach Process

OLYMPIA – People who depend on an efficient, reliable transportation system deserve a say in its future. The Washington State Department of Transportation is seeking public comment on its proposed outreach process for the Long-Range Statewide Transportation Plan and the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, known as the STIP. This proposed process will be available on WSDOT’s website for public comment through Nov. 14, 2013.

The process describes how WSDOT will involve the public when developing the long-range plan and the STIP. Public comment will help WSDOT determine effective public outreach methods.

The statewide long-range transportation plan outlines Washington’s transportation goals and objectives for the entire state. It is designed to offer policy guidance for all jurisdictions throughout the state to further an integrated and efficient transportation system over the next 20 years.

The plan will be developed jointly by the Washington State Transportation Commission and the Washington State Department of Transportation, and will include public participation.

The STIP is a statewide financially constrained prioritized program of transportation-related projects for Washington. It covers four years, and must be consistent with the long-range statewide transportation plan, metropolitan transportation plans, and regional transportation improvement programs. The STIP is required for projects to be authorized for federal funding.

Washington State Parks Remain Open

Federal shutdown does not affect state parks operations.  As news of the Federal Government shutdown reaches the public today, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission reminds visitors that state parks remain open and available as normal, moving into the fall and winter season.

The fall season in Washington typically is inviting to visitors, as fall colors and intermittent sunny weather lures recreationists out to enjoy parks for overnight RV and other camping, for daytime activities such as hiking and biking and for special vacation house rental stays in historic houses, cabins and yurts. The Federal Government shutdown reportedly includes national parks and U.S. Forest Service offices and sites.

Most state park day-use areas and many campgrounds in the Washington state park system remain open year-round, though  specific areas within some parks have partial closures or limited access as winter gets under way. The State Parks winter schedule will be finalized and made available later this month so visitors can plan trips and continue to enjoy state parks.

In the meantime, visitors are encouraged to visit the Washington State Parks web site, www.parks.wa.gov, to learn about parks, trails and activities available to enjoy during the fall season.

Stay connected to your state parks by following Washington State Parks at www.facebook.com/WashingtonStateParks, www.twitter.com/WAStatePks, www.youtube.com/WashingtonStateParks and www.foursquare.com/WAStatePks. Share your favorite state park adventure on the State Parks’ blog site at www.AdventureAwaits.com.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages a diverse system of more than 100 state parks and recreation programs, including long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. Support state parks by purchasing your annual Discover Pass today, and enjoy a whole year of outdoor fun on Washington’s beautiful state-managed recreation lands. For more information, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.

Water Quality Standards For Toxics

Two public involvement opportunities are coming up on Oct. 9 and Nov. 6 as the Department of Ecology (Ecology) works through rule making to update the state’s surface water quality standards for toxic substances, including fish consumption rates.

Ecology is using the public meetings to engage and educate people about the complex technical and policy issues to update the human health criteria section of the state’s standards.  The rule making also is looking at advanced regulatory tools that will allow regulated water dischargers to remain in compliance with the updated standards. These public meetings will assist Ecology in developing a draft rule in 2014. Once the draft rule is developed, Ecology will ask for formal public review and input.

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Thurston County Continues Flood Mitigation Work

Annual status report issued for National Flood Insurance Community Rating System.  Thurston County has issued its annual report on the progress toward implementing the 32 Mitigation Initiatives in the county’s 2012 Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The progress report is required as part of the Thurston County’s recertification under the National Flood Insurance Community Rating System. Because the county has completed several flood mitigation and preparedness actions and received a Community Rating System score of four, residents of unincorporated Thurston County can get as much as a 30 percent discount for flood insurance. That’s up from 25 percent for flood insurance rate discounts in 2012.

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