I've spent hours in classes, conducting online research, and asking questions to the Department of Ecology to make this well and water basin post as informative and easy to read as possible. So let's begin.
Not to dive into much back story; the gist is, the Hirst Decision changed the way county building departments decide to approve or deny building permits that use wells as a primary water source. As property owners and potential buyers, if needing to know what watershed serves an address it can be challenging.
This post will aim to answer the following question and deliver information on how to research watersheds and water basins.
- How do I find a watershed for a particular property?
Let's start with the basics.
There are 5 watersheds in Snohomish County and they are the Lower Skagit-Samish WRIA 3, Upper Skagit-Samish WRIA 4, Stillaguamish WRIA 5, Snohomish WRIA 7, and Cedar-Sammamish WRIA 8. Yet, it is very unlikely that a property will need to research the Cedar-Sammamish WRIA 8 since the SW area of Snohomish County relies on city water - view watershed map.
How do I Find the Watershed that Serves a Property?
There are some mapping tools that can be helpful. Some more than others and you'll see based on the control address.
The State Wide WRIA Finder allows users to map an address to pin point the watershed. The search was for 17615 2nd Ave NE Arlington, WA 98223 and the below image shows the dot right on the border of Stillaguamish and Snohomish watersheds.
But for real estate purposes, it's nice to be a bit more precise.
Using the Skagit County iMap will allow users to zoom into the map to find a property. Searching the same address it can be see how close the 2nd Ave NE is to the watershed border. The property is marked by the red dot and the wastershed border is the grey, snaking line. The Skagit County iMap will show watershed information for Lower Skagit-Samish WRIA 3, Upper Skagit-Samish WRIA 4, and the Stillaguamish WRIA 5. So that is Stanwood, most of Arlington, northern Granite Falls and Darrington.
At this time, the Skagit iMap interactive map cannot be used to located a property in the Snohomish WRIA 7 watershed.
How to Research a More In-Depth Watershed Report
Now, if you'd like to be more detailed then use the Snohomish County PDS Map Portal to create a property report. Visit the website, click I Agree, click Search By then select Search by Address or Parcel Number. Enter the address or tax parcel id and click Search.
A Quick Options box should appear and inside that box click Run Property Report. Give the website a few minutes to generate the property report. Download the property report in the left hand window and open.
Found on page 8 of the 2nd Ave NE property's report, the watershed name, aquifer sensitivity, elevation, sub-basin name, hydric soils, basin name, sold source aquifer, water resource inventory area, floor plain, critical aquifer recharge area, geology, and solid type can be found.
NOTE*This report contains a lot of useful property info.
Having this information will allow property owners and buyers to do further
Where can Existing Well Logs be Found?
Searching online yields mixed results when using the Department of Ecology's website. Using the website, I find it easiest to search County > City then use the PAN feature to find a property versus a address or tax parcel id.
The reason is, the DoE website's doesn't always have wells icons located on the searched parcel. Using the previous property as an example, here are the results.
- The selectable well icon
- The approximate well location
In this case, when selecting the black square a group well logs are displayed for the neighborhood. I assume the website aggregates all the neighborhood wells since they are part of the same neighborhood.
The 2nd Ave NE property is Lot 10 of the subdivision, just click the View PDF link for the well log.
Here is an example of a well log.
If a well log cannot be located, search surrounding parcels to see if a aggregate well log list can be located or if the pin placement was off. If a well log still can't be located then contact the Department of Ecology as they probably will have a hard copy that has yet to be scanned and uploaded.
Watershed information is going to be a big part of Snohomish County's future and if planning to build then becoming familiar with the available tools will be valuable.
Hope that helps in your search for wastersheds, drainage basin, property well logs, and watershed soil composition for a given property.
Did we miss something? Please leave a comment as to help others and us. Enjoy!