By Cynthia Wilkerson – The Wilderness Society
Since the last update, we‘ve been busy building momentum and support for the Integrated Plan and researching some critical aspects and opportunities.
Michael Garrity of American Rivers, traveled to D.C. with partners from the Yakama Nation, county commissions, Washington State Department of Ecology, and farmers to continue to raise awareness of the plan and ask for support for early implementation actions, such as fish passage at Lake Cle Elum and assessment of technical issues with the Bumping and Wymer dams.
Locally, we’re teaming up with this same cross-section of folks to seek endorsements for the framework of the plan. Key support in the past month has come from the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce and the Mountains to Sound Greenway. Another critical development in terms of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan collaboration is that the U.S. Forest Service has formally joined the Integrated Plan’s Work Group.
Finally, we have been making progress with our public lands partners in exploring how to create a robust and balanced lands protection package that protects and restores underlying watershed values, such as wildlife habitat and clean drinking water, and allows for balanced recreation opportunities for a diverse set of users that are compatible with the needs of the forests and rivers.
Stay tuned for further progress and work to protect the Yakima Basin for fish, farms and families continues.