Steve Malloch of National Wildlife Federation and Michael Garrity of American Rivers recently wrote an article on the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan for the December 2012 issue of The Water Report, a monthly newsletter for water lawyers, engineers, regulatory agencies, tribes, municipalities, environmental organizations, and anyone interested in water law, water rights, and water quality in the western U.S.
Learn all the in’s and out’s of water policy in the Yakima Basin and in the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan.
As with almost every major river basin in the American West, the Yakima River Basin (Basin) has a history of instituting ambitious water schemes in pursuit of economic development. As is also all too typical, this development came with many initially unconsidered costs: environmental degradation; long-ignored but resurgent tribal treaty rights; litigation; and, most recently, concern — even in this reliably conservative river basin — about an increasingly uncertain climate future.
In an effort to go beyond the decades of water confl icts spawned by this history, the Basin is now also home to another ambitious plan — the Yakima Basin Integrated Water
Resources Management Plan (Yakima Plan) — designed to secure a healthy future for the Basin’s fi sh, farms, forests, and families. The Yakima Plan is the result of an array of
interests in the Basin recognizing that digging entrenched positions still deeper is unlikely to result in a satisfactory resolution for anyone.
The Yakima River is located on the arid east side of Washington state, nestled between the Cascade Mountain crest and the Columbia River.