Note: first published December 16, 2022 and updated January 9, 2023.

The Washington Department of Ecology has issued the first four chapters of what will be a 13-chapter manual on how farmers and ranchers can best protect water quality.

The manual, “Voluntary Clean Water Guidance for Agriculture,” recommends “best management practices” and responds to a demand from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Obama EPA complained in 2015 that Ecology’s overall plan to control polluted runoff was too vague when it came to farm chemicals, manure and soil.

Ecology convened an advisory group in 2018 to help it develop the guidance. Ecology is due to submit a new pollution-control plan to EPA by the end of the year.