Washington Water Trust

Working to restore our state's rivers and streams.

Sprouting Streamflow Initiative

WWT, Mainstem Malt brew up novel way to help salmon. 

Washington Water Trust (WWT) is proud to partner with Mainstem Malt to launch Sprouting Streamflows. A landmark initiate, Sprouting Streamflows offers another option to farmers who are interested in shifting their high water-use crops to top-quality malting grains that require little to no irrigation. 

Since 1998, WWT has worked with farmers to compensate them for the value of leaving water instream when and where it is needed most by salmon and steelhead. Mainstem Malt's mission is to supply craft brewers, distillers and bakers with premium "Malt that Matters," by working hand-in-hand with farmers and maltsters to ensure their grains and malt are not only top quality, but also live up to the conservation ethics they stand by. 

Here's how it works: 

  • Mainstem Malt offers a market premium to the farmer for planting a water-saving malting grain rotation. 
  • Washington Water Trust provides a payment for the water saved, then protects the water instream. 
  • The farmer gains a market-fueled mechanism to reduce water consumption, while keeping their operations whole. 

Top three reasons why we love this new twist on our traditional tools: 

  1. We have an economically viable crop alternative (malting grains!) with a growing market to help incentivize on-farm changes that benefit flows and fish; 
  2. Keeps our farms whole and operational, and our lands in production; and 
  3. We're helping support regional supply chains and agricultural revitalization, with tasty, conservation-infused eats and drinks to boot!

It's not just malt that matters, it's a movement that matters.

And we're proud to be a part of it. Big thanks to Mainstem Malt for their innovation and for choosing Washington Water Trust to pilot Sprouting Streamflows. We look forward to taking it to the Teanaway, Walla Walla, Western Washington and beyond.

If you're a farmer or water right holder interested in the Sprouting Streamflows initiative, please don't hesitate to contact Washington Water Trust Project Managers, Arden Thomas or Kristina Ribellia. We'd love to hear from you!