News Release Archive

Reclamation To Carry Two Alternatives Forward in Yakima Basin Storage Study

Media Contact: Diana Cross, (208) 378-5020,
Gerald Kelso, (509) 575-5848 ext. 202,

For Release: June 08, 2006

In a report released today on in-basin water storage alternatives for the Yakima River Basin, the Bureau of Reclamation announced one alternative, Wymer Dam and Reservoir, was sufficiently viable to merit further study. The Wymer alternative will be studied in more detail this summer, along with the Black Rock reservoir alternative, which Reclamation previously determined appeared to be technically viable.

Reclamation will host a Public Open House at the Yakima Convention Center June 20 from 4:00 to 7:30 p.m. to give people an opportunity to ask questions about the content of its most recent report, the Yakima Alternatives Appraisal Assessment. Reclamation staff will be available to answer questions and explain the next phase of the study. Interested persons with special needs should contact Lynn Holt (509) 575-5848 ext. 372 at least one week before the scheduled open house so that arrangements can be made

Three in-basin storage alternativesBumping Lake enlargement, Wymer dam and reservoir, and Keechelus-to-Kachess pipelinewere assessed by Reclamation as part of the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study. The study is evaluating storage options to improve anadromous fish habitat, improve the reliability of Yakima Project water supply during dry years, and provide water to meet future demand for municipal water supply.

"Reclamation has concluded from its appraisal-level assessment that the Wymer dam and reservoir alternative is the only alternative of these three that appears to be technically viable and potentially capable of meeting the goals of the Storage Study," said Jerry Kelso, Upper Columbia Area Office Manager. "Further, more detailed analysis will determine whether either alternative  Wymer or Black Rock  is sufficiently viable and economically justified for intensive, feasibility-level study."

Like the Black Rock Appraisal Assessment, released in February 2005, this assessment is limited to certain engineering and technical aspects of the potential projects and is based on preliminary, appraisal-level information only. Economic, financial, environmental, cultural, and social evaluations have not yet been conducted on any alternative; these issues will begin to be explored in the coming months.

In 2003, Congress authorized the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau of Reclamation, to conduct the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study. Reclamation and the State of Washington are sharing the costs of the storage study. More information about the study, including the Yakima River Basin Storage Alternatives Appraisal Assessment, is available at Printed copies are also available upon request from Mr. Kim McCartney, Storage Study Manager, Bureau of Reclamation, 1917 Marsh Road, Yakima WA 98901-2058; (509) 575-5848, ext. 370.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.