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.