A Rich and Diverse River Basin
From its source high in the Cascades, the Yakima River meets myriad streams and rivers as it makes its way through shrub-steppe desert to join the mighty Columbia River. The Yakima is the lifeblood of fish, families and farms in the region and the Yakima Basin is one of the state’s most diverse watersheds.
Though farms continue to produce bales of hay and pounds of fruit and fish return to spawn in their native waters, the Yakima River is not as healthy as it once was. Long ago, the Yakima supported one of the world’s great salmon runs; today, those numbers have dwindled due to habitat degradation, dams and past overharvest.
Each spring as crops flourish, farmers are faced with the threat—and often reality—of not enough water, especially in low snowpack years. Low water supply means not enough water for farmers and not enough water in the river to keep fish alive or boats afloat.
Picture a future where 300,000 salmon and steelhead swim in theYakima River, including the largest sockeye run in the lower 48. Imagine local communities with continued access to cold, clean water for drinking and agriculture. By working together, we can achieve this future through the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan.
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