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Salmon Creek

Project Type: Flow Restoration
Location: Okanogan Watershed

For more than 100 years Salmon Creek ran dry in the late summer and fall due to water diversions for irrigation. Today however, WWT in partnership with the Colville Confederated Tribes and the Okanogan Irrigation District ensures that extra water is released into the creek from upstream reservoirs to support steelhead throughout the entire year.

Our Approach
  • Helping Rivers Flow
  • Restoring Landscapes for Water
  • Planning for Future Water Uses
  • Finding Alternative Water Sources

Since 2000, Washington Water Trust has worked collaboratively with the Okanogan Irrigation District (OID) and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (CCT) to restore stream flows in Salmon Creek, a tributary to the Okanogan River. As part of a larger restoration effort for Salmon Creek, WWT has negotiated transactions to provide flows for summer steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The project is taking place on the lower 15 miles of Salmon Creek.  Importantly, this project reconnects the Okanogan River with pristine summer steelhead habitat above the OID diversion point, which has been dry for a 4.6 mile stretch except during spring runoff during most years since the 1930s. Salmon Creek habitat restoration represents one of the most significant opportunities to restore steelhead to the Okanogan Basin, marked by a recent confirmation of successful spawning in the restored reaches.

This project is an important model of the collaborative strategy so important to the mission of Washington Water Trust. WWT’s cooperative involvement with CCT, OID, Bonneville Power Administration and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has outlined a strategy whereby biologically sound restoration measures can be fulfilled while meeting the needs of fish and agriculture.

At a Glance

Working Partners
  • Okanogan Irrigation District - Ecology
  • Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
  • Bonneville Power Administration
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
ESA-listed Fish Species
Summer Steelhead
Total Projects In This River/Tributary
Level of Climate Threat
The projected impact of climate change on summer streamflows by 2040 (via Washington Department of Ecology).
Streamflow restored
River Miles Benefitting