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Icicle Creek project breaks ground

Staff Photo
by Washington Water Trust

Author: James Kraft, Executive Director

I shared in March that Washington Water Trust signed agreements with the Cascade Orchard Irrigation Company (COIC) and Chelan County to kick off a project that will permanently restore more than 1.3 billion gallons of water annually to the lower part of Icicle Creek. Our project partners have hit the ground running since then!

Chelan County broke ground on a new high-efficiency irrigation pump station that will provide water to hundreds of acres of land that COIC serves. This new pump station is located 2.5 miles downstream from the old open-ditch irrigation diversion that COIC shared with the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. Important flows will now remain instream in this 2.5 mile stretch of the creek benefiting steelhead, spring Chinook, bull trout, and other species.

The new high-efficiency irrigation pump station construction site next to Icicle Creek.

WWT’s agreement with COIC to de-couple and move their diversion downstream has enabled the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery and the US Bureau of Reclamation to carry out crucial restoration efforts and infrastructure improvements at the old diversion, which continues providing water to the hatchery.

Their team removed a cross-stream barrier that slowed the creek’s flow for the diversion. They also installed a new modern fish screen. These efforts have opened up the creek and improved fish passage and safety.

The old dam and fish ladder at the river diversion formerly shared by COIC and the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery (left) vs. the same stretch of stream with the dam removed and the diversion upgraded (right).

These changes are part of a large collaborative effort to restore Icicle Creek’s natural dynamics and ensure that it can support local fish and communities forever. This restored stretch of Icicle Creek is a testament to what can be achieved when we all work together. Thank you to our partners and supporters for making this project possible!