Projects to help fish: Salmon recovery efforts highlighted in Yakima Basin

Yakima Herald –

While it’s hardly fixed every problem or brought back historic populations, Yakima Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board Executive Director Alex Conley said it’s an example of positive steps in the region.

“What we saw in Cowiche Creek is a lot like what we’ve seen on probably 10 different creeks through the basin,” Conley said. “You could tell a similar story — different in the details, but a similar story for Manastash Creek, for Taneum Creek, for Swauk Creek.”

Conley led a tour of project sites Thursday funded in part by the state’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board, which was meeting in Yakima this week. The board grants $18 million annually to projects across the state. He estimated about $1.2 million to $1.5 million of that money goes to the Yakima region, where several partners work toward common goals outlined in the Yakima Basin integrated water management plan.

The North Yakima Conservation District’s Justin Bader kicked things off at what’s called the Cowiche Siphon, at the intersection of the Naches-Cowiche Canal and Cowiche Creek near Powerhouse Road. Bader explained how his organization and the county removed and replaced a concrete siphon so it no longer creates a barrier for juvenile coho and steelhead.

Read more