Dam Removal Project Restores Fish Passage and Keeps Water for Irrigators

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Walter Larrick, (509) 575-5848 ext. 209

For Release: November 09, 2009

The Bureau of Reclamation will join the Kittitas Conservation Trust (KCT) and several other partners for a special event celebrating the partnership that resulted in the removal of the Bruton Diversion Dam and the successful restoration of fish passage in Taneum Creek located about 12 miles north of Ellensburg, WA.

The November 12 event is being organized by the KCT which played a major role in the coordination of the stream restoration project. It will start at 10:00 a.m. near 3661 East Taneum Road, in Thorp, WA. Organizers will conduct a tour of the restored area and release Coho salmon into the newly restored stream.

The stream restoration project involved creating a roughened channel which is a manmade watercourse that resembles a natural streambed. Resulting in easy passage for fish even during low flows.

The project will reconnect migrating Coho salmon and steelhead to their historic habitat.

Reclamation played a central part in the effort by finding an alternative solution that provides Bruton Ditch water users with irrigation flows they traditionally received from the decommissioned dam. Through its Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project (YRBWEP), Reclamation was able to secure water rights from the Kittitas Reclamation District and construct a pressurized piping system that will provide irrigators with a reliable water source without diverting from Taneum Creek.

"This is a win-win for everyone," said Walt Larrick, YRBWEP Manager. "A deal was struck that allowed the Kittitas Conservation Trust and the other partners to go ahead and remove the dam. This also kept the irrigators whole by building a pressurized water delivery system that did not depend on creek flows."

Cooperating Partners for Funding and Technical Support include: The Kittitas Conservation Trust; Salmon Recovery Funding Board; Washington State Department of Ecology; Community Salmon Fund program; Bureau of Reclamation; Yakima Tributary Access and Habitat program; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; NOAA Fisheries Service; Bonneville Power Administration; Washington Water Trust; Kittitas Reclamation District; Kittitas County Public Works; MRM Construction, Inc., and local irrigation water users. The roughened channel was designed by Fisheries Consultants, Inc.

Although the public is invited to attend, KCT is warning of muddy conditions and that appropriate shoes be worn. The area has limited parking, and those planning to attend are asked to notify KCT at kct@inlandnet.com in advance.

To listen to the audio interviews about the Taneum Creek Project go to:


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