Yakima Project "Flip-flop" Operation to Begin

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Kate Puckett, (509) 575-5848 ext 205

For Release: August 31, 2004

The Bureau of Reclamation announced that on September 1, it will begin the annual "flip-flop" operation to reduce river flows in the upper Yakima arm of the Yakima Basin and increase flows in the Naches arm of the river system. The Naches arm increased flows will come primarily from Tieton Dam.

The purpose of the "flip-flop" operation is to encourage spring Chinook salmon to spawn at relatively low flows so that less water is required during the winter to keep the redds (egg nests) covered. This reduces any impact on irrigation water supply during the next season.

On September 7, as part of the "flip-flop" operation, Reclamation will install buoys around the Canal Wasteway 1146 drop to the Yakima River in the Ellensburg Canyon. The buoys system will remain in place for the duration of "flip-flop", which should last approximately 45 days. The system consists of floating buoys the size of 30-gallon drums that keep rafters and other recreationists out of the wasteway flows.

Beginning September 1, flows out of Cle Elum Dam are expected to gradually decrease from about 2,000 cubic-feet-per-second to about 250 cfs on or by September 10. Flows from Tieton Dam are expected to increase from about 600 cfs to over 1,500 cfs by September 10, depending upon irrigation demands.

Streamflow changes will continue during the Labor Day holiday. Streamflow information can be obtained by calling (509) 575-5854 or by viewing the Reclamation website at: http://www.usbr.gov/pn/hydromet/yakima/index.html.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.