Reclamation Awards $3.8 Million Contract for Water Conservation and Tributary Enhancement on Manastash Creek

Media Contact: Venetia Gempler, (208) 378-5020
Walter Larrick, (509) 575-5848 ext. 290

For Release: July 22, 2013

YAKIMA, Wash. - The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $3.8 million construction contract on June 25, to convert an open irrigation lateral to a pressurized pipeline as part of the Manastash Creek Water Conservation and Tributary Enhancement Project in Kittitas County, approximately 4 miles west of Ellensburg, Wash. The contract was awarded to 2H&V Construction Services, a disabled veteran-owned small business based in Bonifay, Fla. Construction is expected to take place between September and April.

This water conservation project will reduce water seepage and conserve about 1,300 acre-feet of water annually. The conserved water will return to Manastash Creek, which currently dries out each summer due to irrigation withdrawals. Streamflow in the creek will be increased about 4-5 cubic feet per second, and will significantly improve access to 25 miles of habitat for steelhead, coho, bull trout and spring chinook.

"This Project is the first major project undertaken as part of the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan, which has broad support from the State and basin stakeholders because it provides a solution to the water resource issues of the basin," says Derek Sandison, Director, Office of Columbia River, Washington State Department of Ecology.

Lorri Lee, Pacific Northwest Regional Director for Reclamation, agrees. "The Integrated Plan holds great promise for the Yakima basin, and we look forward to working with the State and the Yakama Nation and the other stakeholders to achieve this goal," she said.

The Integrated Plan is a comprehensive approach to water resources and ecosystem restoration improvements in the entire Yakima River Basin and was prepared under the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project. The Integrated Plan is a result of an extensive planning process involving a large stakeholder group comprised of Federal, State and local governments; the Yakama Nation; irrigators; and environmental groups.

Funding for the Manastash Creek Water Conservation and Tributary Enhancement Project will be cost shared between the Washington State Department of Ecology and Reclamation. The total cost of the project is estimated to be about $7 million.

"The Kittitas Reclamation District (KRD) is pleased to be one of the participants in the Project. It is a perfect example of how parties with differing viewpoints can come together, reach an agreement, and find a solution that benefits all interests involved. This project sets the stage for many more projects and actions throughout the Yakima basin that will provide all of us with the water needed to continue to grow," said KRD Board Chairman Paul Weaver.

Dale Bambrick, National Marine Fisheries Service, stated, "The upper Yakima steelhead population is critical to recovery of steelhead in the Yakima basin and, in turn, the middle Columbia. The most important tool to restoring steelhead to the upper Yakima basin is to provide them access to healthy habitats in tributaries like Manastash."

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