We’re making sure the Yakima Basin is always a great place for fish, families and farms.

Updated by @YakimaForever

Recent Updates


Ellensburg Daily Record: A big week for regional water issues



by Daily Record Editorial Board

It’s been a big week for water issues in Central Washington and beyond.

The Yakima River Basin integrated water management plan was highlighted at a White House Water Summit on Tuesday as part of United National World Water Day. The summit drew attention to a number of issues, from drought to the water quality crisis in Flint, Mich., with an emphasis on what the federal government could to help.

The Yakima River integrated plan was presented as an example of how cooperation and collaboration can result in better management of water for economic and environmental benefits. The Yakima plan, which involves conservation and water storage projects, has brought together irrigators, the Yakama Nation, business interests, conservation groups and federal, state and local government agencies.

It’s nice to see the project get some well deserved national attention.

It’s also important to realize we’re still in the early stages of the plan. Significant funding and leadership will be needed to get a long list of projects off the ground. The entire plan is supposed to cost $4 billion and take 30 years to complete.

It’s also fair to note that there’s been some opposition to parts of the plan, namely the Bumping Lake water storage project and a permanent pumping plant at Lake Kachess. There’s also been objection to the overall cost of the effort.

That’s where leadership comes in, both at the local and federal level. Our elected officials are going to have a tough road ahead to keep the players (and non-players) on the path of compromise and collaboration. They will need support.

The Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement project in Oregon also was lauded initially for its collaborative approach, but it’s been a tough road for that effort, which includes dam removal. Nothing about water in the West is easy.

As part of the summit, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released a study about the future of water supplies in the Columbia River basin. It found that warming temperatures will continue across the basin. While there will not be significant changes in the mean annual precipitation, the timing will change.

At three areas studied in detail — the Columbia River above The Dalles, Snake River at Brownlee Dam and the Yakima River at Parker — snow water equivalent is expected to decline.

The assessment projected a trend that indicated there would be an increase in runoff from December to March and a decrease in runoff from April to July.

The big picture of the Yakima plan is to make sure people and nature can continue to flourish and thrive in Central Washington for generations to come, even as climate change affects our way of life. It’s a tall order. This week’s events are a reminder that everyone needs to keep talking.

Originally posted at the Ellensburg Daily Record, March 24, 2016.


New white paper outlines a national policy framework for drought and water security

from the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Today, on World Water Day, Ranking Member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) released a white paper to advance the development of a 21st century national framework for addressing drought and water security in the United States.

An unprecedented drought last year and 15 years of drought across the American West have demonstrated the need to rethink U.S. water management in the 21st century. Since 1980, droughts have cost the United States more than $200 billion. The drought last year caused widespread and serious impacts for communities, agriculture, industry and the environment. As drought is predicted to continue in the coming years and as communities throughout the United States face significant water-security challenges, it is a crucial time to evaluate and develop new strategies at the national level.



Committing to the future of the Yakima


Winter flows in the Teanaway – Image credit TU

By Kira Finkler, Legislative Counsel-Water Policy Adviser, Trout Unlimited

Originally posted on the Trout Unlimited Community blog.

Earlier this week, the President unveiled his Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal highlighting, among other accomplishments, that it “protects and modernizes our water supply and preserves our natural landscapes.” We were thrilled to see this commitment represented within the Bureau of Reclamation’s $15.8 million request for Washington State’s exemplary Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project, a $3 million increase over last year. This significant funding boost will help ensure that meaningful progress is made on key components of the cooperative Yakima Basin Integrated Plan.


Reviving Floodplains to Reduce Flood Damage


(Right to left) Michael Garrity, Brian Graber, Eileen Shader and Jonathon Loos visit restored floodplains on the Yakima River in eastern Washington (credit: Jonathon Loos)

American Rivers staff toured the Yakima and Puyallup river floodplains during the week of December 7-11, when heavy storms caused flooding on both sides of the Cascades.  They had come to learn about regional floodplain restoration efforts, and were treated to floodplains in action!  (more…)


Yakima Plan gathering momentum

by Nicky Pasi

On November 19th, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources unanimously passed Senator Cantwell’s Senate Bill 1694 which, if signed into law, will authorize federal involvement in implementing the first ten years of the Yakima Plan.  The next step in this process?  A companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.  U.S. Representatives Dan Newhouse (WA-04) and Dave Reichert (WA-08), who have long supported the Yakima Plan, hope to introduce such legislation before the end of the year.


Representative Newhouse meets with the YBIP Workgroup Executive Committee (photo credit: Tim Hill, Dept. of Ecology)

Yesterday (November 24th), in a roundtable press event in Yakima, Representative Newhouse met with members of the Yakima Plan Workgroup’s Executive Committee to discuss the collaborative process that brought them all to this point, and the Plan’s importance as a model of integrated water and ecosystem management.  With  discussion of west-wide droughts echoing around DC, Rep. Newhouse applauded the committee members for getting a head start on bringing forward a workable solution.

“On the eve of introducing our legislation in the House,” Rep. Newhouse said, “This is an important meeting for us to hear final comments or continuing comments about where we are, where we need to be, and some of the challenges we still face.” (more…)

This theme is brought to you by Salesforce CRM.
%d bloggers like this: