Archive for October, 2012


Yakima Herald-Republic: Water plan takes a big step forward

by David Lester

October 30, 2012

A public investment of billions of dollars to restore Yakima River Basin fish and assure a more stable supply of water for farms and communities would more than pay for itself, according to a new report issued by the federal Bureau of Reclamation.

The lengthy report issued last week concludes the return on the investment could be as much as three times the cost, based on a variety of assumptions.

Although couched in those assumptions, supporters say the report strengthens the campaign for federal and state dollars for a multi-year project to add new storage, improve fish passage, preserve sensitive habitat, and supply water for municipal, industrial and domestic uses, among its many elements.

Yakima County Commissioner Mike Leita said the positive cost-benefit ratio provides an opportunity missing in prior efforts to expand water storage and resolve water conflicts in the three-county basin.

“That door is now opening. It is of major significance,” Leita said. “Everything in this plan is connected. At some point in time all these components must and need to be completed.”

Continue reading the story.


Seattle Times: Management plan for Yakima River Basin provides a splash of can-do cheer

Progress on a broad plan for the Yakima River Basin is a refreshing counterpoint to frustrations with gridlock elsewhere in politics.

by Lance Dickie

Times editorial columnist

October 25, 2012

A long, frustrating campaign season and years of legislative paralysis in Congress fuel a need for optimism about a fresh start in politics.

I believe I have found it, and it is here at home in this Washington. The name does not roll off the tongue, but it illustrates how things can change for the better:

The Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan is a product of extraordinary work and compromise, and it offers long-term benefits for the environment and economy.

The Yakima River Basin plan will take purposeful action in Olympia and Washington, D.C., to happen.

Lawmakers responsible for making the necessary budget and policy decisions should be inspired and respectful of the broad interests represented, and the compromises made to reach agreement.

Continue reading the story.


The Return of Sockeye

See the sockeye returning to spawn in the Cle Elum River!

When: October-November 2012
Where: Cle Elum River, WA

Sockeye are spawning as a result of Yakama Nation reintroduction to Lake Cle Elum. 10,000 adult sockeye were transported from Priest Rapids dam in July and are spawning above Lake Cle Elum. Yakama Nation is in its fourth year of reintroducing sockeye, monitoring populations, and developing strategies to maintain the Yakima Basin stock.

Local sockeye salmon populations were eradicated decades ago by dam development that blocked adult sockeye access to lakes. Yakama tribal elders describe the value of kálux (sockeye) to the people as a winter sustenance food to carry people until new spring food arrives. Historically, at least 200,000 sockeye would annually return to four lakes in the Yakima Basin. Returning sockeye to harvestable numbers requires ongoing studies and partnerships to obtain permanent fish passage.

Partners for permanent fish passage through a Yakima Basin Plan include: Bureau of Reclamation, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA, USF&WS, U.S. Forest Service, Yakima and Kittitas Counties, irrigation districts, and conservation groups.

Would you like to see sockeye spawning?

Click here to get directions to one of the best viewing spots on a map. Known as “Bridge to Cooper Lake,” by the locals, this spot is along the Cle Elum River. Formally listed on maps as NF-46.

* Please do not disturb the fish and stay out of the water.

Click here to see a flyer version of this blog.

Many thanks to Yakama Nation for providing content for this blog.

Fish. Families. Farms.
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