Washington Water Trust

Working to restore our state's rivers and streams.

Dec. 6, 2016

WWT Works with Landowners to Ensure the Teanaway River Continues to Flow

Critical Teanaway fish species benefit from water permanently secured for instream flows.

               Washington Water Trust Works with Landowners to Ensure the

Teanaway River Continues to Flow

 

Critical Teanaway fish species benefit from water permanently secured for instream flows. 

Cle Elum, WA (December 6, 2016) Washington Water Trust is purchasing two water rights that will benefit fish, wildlife and recreational values in the Teanaway River. These agreements, in partnership with local landowners, will add water in the late summer when flows are critically low. Late summer is naturally a stressful time for aquatic life because stream flows dwindle and water temperatures warm. Water withdrawals also peak in late summer, when warm weather triggers increased irrigation demand.

 “Our Teanaway strategy is built around creating local partnerships to find the most valuable water for fish, while also working with landowners to find solutions that benefit them as well,” explains Arden Thomas, Project Manager for Washington Water Trust. “It takes these partnerships to provide fish with sufficient water for safe passage and provide the habitat conditions needed to recover these imperiled populations.”

With these two acquisitions, Washington Water Trust will permanently secure about 90 acre-feet of water for instream flow, providing up to an additional 1.85 cubic feet per second of water along 11.5 river miles. One landowner will continue to farm 90 acres of land within the Teanaway basin, irrigating during the early part of the growing season when water is more abundant.

“My motivation for this project is that the Teanaway River Valley is such a beautiful natural place,” explains Jason Bourne, a landowner partner to Washington Water Trust’s flow restoration efforts in the Teanaway, “and I want to be a part of something that sustains that beauty into the future. I’ve been really impressed with all of the partners working to preserve and protect this special place, like the Teanaway Community Forest and this project with Washington Water Trust.”

With these two new water right acquisitions, WWT has secured over 10.5 cubic feet per second of flow past the Lambert Road Bridge at River Mile 4.2. Improved flow conditions in the mainstem Teanaway River complement efforts by partner agencies and organizations to restore habitat conditions throughout the watershed. Public investment in the Teanaway Basin, particularly the recent formation of the Teanaway Community Forest as part of the Yakima Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan, provides an unprecedented opportunity for watershed-scale restoration. Washington Water Trust is proud to contribute to this effort by working with private landowners to help the Teanaway Basin fulfill its potential.

These recent acquisitions are part of Washington Water Trust’s larger Teanaway River strategy to provide sufficient water so that low, late summer flows no longer limit the production of fish specieslike summer steelhead and spring Chinook. Learn more about our progress in meeting this goal online through the Teanaway River Story Map. The interactive web-page illustrates Washington Water Trust’s collaboration with more than 20 landowners since 1998 to turn the Teanaway from a stream that once ran completely dry in late summer to one that supports fish when they most desperately need it. Flow restoration efforts to date kept water in the Teanaway River during the historic 2015 drought. Even when conditions are not as dire as those experienced in 2015, water dedicated to instream flows dramatically improves passage conditions and increases the amount of habitat available to support rainbow and steelhead trout, and Chinook and coho salmon. 

Washington Water Trust fosters healthy streams throughout Washington by preserving and restoring the flow of water. We partner with individuals and organizations to implement voluntary initiatives that help direct water back into our tributaries when and where it is needed most to improve habitat. Our flow restoration approaches include water leases and purchases, irrigation efficiency upgrades, and groundwater recharge. 

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Washington Water Trust is a nonprofit organization working throughout Washington since 1998.