Study considers water supply alternatives in Yakima basin

A supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) that explores a wide range of options for improving water supplies and fish habitat in the Yakima River Basin is available for review. The study evaluates projects not considered in the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study that is taking a look at proposed reservoirs in the Black Rock Valley east of Moxee, Wash., and the Wymer proposal in the Yakima River Canyon...

YAKIMA, WA, Dec. 10, 2008 -- A supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) that explores a wide range of options for improving water supplies and fish habitat in the Yakima River Basin is available for review.

The study evaluates projects not considered in the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study that is taking a look at proposed reservoirs in the Black Rock Valley east of Moxee, Wash., and the Wymer proposal in the Yakima River Canyon.

The Washington Department of Ecology undertook the study in response to concerns raised in comments by local irrigators and the Yakama Nation that the federal storage study wasn't broad enough.

The SEIS doesn't duplicate alternatives or analyses already presented in the Yakima storage EIS sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Ecology.

A variety of water resource problems affect agriculture, migrating and resident fish, and municipal and domestic water supplies in the Yakima River Basin. Factors contributing to water resource concerns include water shortages due to drought and increased demand, blocked fish passage to upstream tributaries, insufficient flows for migrating smolts, diking and vegetation damage, and the full-appropriation of water, making it difficult to acquire water rights to meet future municipal and domestic water demand.

The report evaluates fish passage at existing storage reservoirs and other structures. It also explores modifications to existing facilities and operations and new or expanded storage reservoirs to optimize the basin's water supply, and it considers habitat enhancements on the Yakima River and tributaries.

>> View the study online

Copies are available by contacting Derek Sandison, by phone at (509) 454-7673 or email at dsan461@ecy.wa.gov. Comments may be made in writing to 15 West Yakima Ave. Suite 200, Yakima, WA 98902-3452 or to the email above. Please include Yakima Supplemental Draft in the subject line.

Comments are due by Jan. 16, 2009. The state plans to issue the final supplemental environmental impact statement in March of 2009.

###

More in Environmental