Our Northwest

Diverted irrigation water to save salmon, steelhead

Thursday, June 4, 2015by  Jon Osterberg

Washington might be battling a drought, but Kittitas County officials have devised a way to fill dry creeks and enable salmon and steelhead to spawn.
     The solution is simple but effective: draw water from the upper Yakima River – which typically has an overabundance of water – and direct it into drought-stricken tributaries.
     Five upper-county creeks will receive water all summer, diverted from the Yakima River via siphons on the reclamation district’s main irrigation canal. They are:

  • Big and Little creeks, south of Lavender Lake
  • Tucker Creek, near Easton
  • Spex Arth Creek, south of Bullfrog Flats
  • Tillman Creek, near South Cle Elum.

     Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials believe those creeks will be hardest hit by the low snowpack and ensuing drought. The beauty of the plan is, the diverted water won’t be wasted. It will drain into the Yakima River, where valley farmers can tap it downstream. Read the Yakima Herald-Republic story.

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