Drought Relief

*The following information is an archive of 2015 Drought Relief Updates. Drought relief information will be updated in the event of another drought. 
December 8. Capital Press Washington to appraise drought damage
The Washington State Department of Agriculture will assess 2015 drought losses, an unprecedented attempt to pinpoint which regions and crops are most vulnerable in water-short years.

November 20. Cantwell Secures Votes to Advance the Yakima Bill through Committee 
Legislation Will Bring Drought Relief to Washington Farmers, Families and Fish––Restoring Fish Runs Blocked for More Than a Century
November 16. Washington State Dept. of Ecology Drought relief funds benefit water haulers, orchards
Grants help pay for Skagit water filling stations, Yakima basin irrigation well

October 27. Capital Press FEMA denies funds for private wildfire losses in Washington
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied assistance to residents in three Eastern Washington counties who suffered uninsured losses in wildfires this year.

September 26. Capital Press Washington irrigation districts get drought-relief grants
The Washington Department of Ecology has awarded drought-relief grants to irrigation districts in Kennewick and Wenatchee.
September 26. Capital Press Farm Service Agency offers wildfire relief programs
The director of the Farm Services Agency urges producers to document their losses and review programs that may help them recover.
September 4. USDA Secretarial Disaster Designations updated 09.02.15
As of September 2, 2015, all  39 counties in Washington State are designated primary disaster areas and qualify for aid.

August 19. USDA Secretarial Disaster Designations updated 08/19/15 
As of the date on the map linked 34 counties in Washington are primary disaster areas; 4 counties are contiguous disaster areas.  San Juan remains the only county in the state which has not yet been declared a designated natural disaster area.
August 19. USDA Farm Service Agency USDA Offers Assistance to Farmers and Ranchers Affected by Fires
“Many of our county offices have already taken applications for losses related to drought but now we are hearing about damage due to wildfires,” said Olson, whose agency administers federal farm programs.
August 17. USDA Farm Service Agency Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)
The Livestock Forage Disaster Program reimburses livestock farms with drought losses on pasture.
August 12. Ecology WA Drought relief Application Status (As of 08.07.15)
August 5. USDA 2015 Secretarial Drought Designations – All Drought Updated 08/05/15
38 Counties in Washington now qualify for financial aid through USDA. 33 of those counties are primary, 5 are contiguous; San Juan remains the only county in the state which has not yet been declared a designated natural disaster area.

July 19. GoSkagit State says drought is so bad every county will qualify for relief funds
“The funding will be available through Ecology for the next two years and should be sufficient although not enough to offset all economic losses, Bellon said.”
 July 18. USDA Secretarial Disaster Designations  
2015 Crop Year All Drought -26 Total Counties in Washington as of 7/15/2015 Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Ferry, Whatcom, and Skagit added
July 13. Dept. of Ecology
*$16 million to help relieve drought hardships statewide – With a $16 million appropriation from the Legislature, the Washington Department of Ecology is accepting grant applications
*Frequently Asked Questions Revised July 2015
*Emergency Drought Funding Rule Documents
*Drought Relief Grant Application 2015 
*Ecology taking applications for drought relief projects
July 13. Capital Press Washington ecology lays down rules for drought relief money

“DOE says spending in the Yakima Basin hasn’t materialized because of the scarcity of water rights to lease. DOE has committed $1.1 million to draw water from about 40 emergency wells, mostly in the Roza Irrigation District in the Yakima Basin. The state and farmers share costs.”

July 8.  USDA Secretarial Drought Designations Updated July 8, 2015 Counties Asotin and Chelan added to drought designations
July 1.  Yakima Herald Yakima Basin Integrated Plan flows forward with federal funds proposal
June 29. USDA  Secretarial Drought Designations for 2015 Map (Disaster Incidents as of June 24, 2015)

Courtesy USDA Farm Service Agency
Courtesy USDA Farm Service Agency
June 24. USDA Farm Service Agency USDA Designates 8 Counties in Washington as Primary Natural Disaster Areas  (18 total counties declared, 10 of which are contiguous)
The primary counties are Adams, Columbia, Grant, Walla Walla, Benton, Franklin, Klickitat and Yakima. Contiguous counties which also qualify for aid are Douglas, King, Lewis, Okanogan, Skamania, Garfield, Kittitas, Lincoln, Pierce, and Whitman.

Information on current and future updates regarding relief funding can be viewed below by regions:

*Counties which are highlighted below in red are designated natural disaster areas and qualify for aid

Drought Programs and Assistance

Farmers, ranchers, and small businesses wrestling with persistent drought: USDA DROUGHT PROGRAMS

Businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters: SBA DISASTER LOANS

Public entities, cities, towns, counties, special purpose districts, or Tribal entities: WATER RESOURCES PROGRAM FUNDING


2015 Drought Funding Assistance in Washington State

Presentation by Jennifer Holderman, Washington State Department of Ecology.


Northwest Washington 

(Counties in this region include Island, King, Kitsap, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom)

Southwestern Washington

(Counties include Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Mason, Lewis, Pacific, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston and Wahkiakum)

Central Washington

(Counties in this region include Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan and Yakima)

Eastern Washington

(Counties include Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla and Whitman)