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Removal of irrigation diversion provides access to habitat for Steelhead salmon

Highlights in Conservation icon

Removal of irrigation diversion provides access to habitat for Steelhead salmon

With the concrete barrier removed the journey up the river is made easier for the Salmonid and Steelhead to reach their spawning grounds.

With the concrete barrier removed the journey up the river is made easier for the Salmonid and Steelhead to reach their spawning grounds.

Location icon
In the Cowiche Watershed near the City of Yakima in Yakima County

Project Summary icon
Concrete irrigation structure impeded the movement of salmonids into prime spawning and rearing habitat in the upper reaches of the Cowiche Watershed. Removal of the barrier provides the opportunity to access additional habitat and will aid in the recovery process of the steelhead population in the Yakima River watershed. Steelhead is on the threatened list for endangered species in the Northwest.

Conservation Partners icon
South Central Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D), Bonneville Power Administration, North Yakima Conservation District, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Yakama Nation and the landowner.

Resource Challenges icon
The Yakima River Watershed is in the process contributing to the restoration of salmonid populations in the Columbia River system to a level which will provide for tribal ceremonial purposes, commercial opportunities and sports fisheries.

Conservation Program Used icon
Bonneville Power Administration fish and wildlife program and Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding.

Innovations and Highlights icon
Cooperation among the partners noted resulted in the opportunity to take the barrier removal and irrigation diversion screening issue in the basin onto private lands. Previous efforts have been on publicly held structures and properties while the need to work with private landowners in the watershed was identified as necessary in order to develop fish access on the dozens of tributaries in the watershed.

Results and Accomplishments icon
Concrete barrier was removed and replaced with in-stream rock structures to allow for irrigation diversion purposes and the diversion was screened with an approved screening system. Additional work is occurring on other inadequate diversion points in Yakima and Kittitas Counties.

Contact icon
Dave Myra, South Central Washington Resource Conservation & Development Office, (509) 454-5743

NRCS, Fall 2006