A just released final programmatic environmental impact statement (EIS), adopted by Chelan County and the Washington Department of Ecology, spells out a plan for improving water efficiencies and boosting streamflows in the Icicle Creek Watershed.
“The Icicle is a challenging watershed where we rely on snowpack and stored water, sourced in a wilderness area, to meet all our water needs,” explained Mike Kaputa, natural resources director for Chelan County. “We appreciate all the feedback received in this process and believe this is a sensible plan that takes into account the unique characteristics of the basin.”
The plan’s preferred alternative identifies a mix of conservation and storage projects to achieve reliable water supplies. Efforts include implementing fish hatchery, irrigation, and domestic water use efficiencies; enhancing habitat, fish passage, and fish screening; automating and optimizing reservoir releases at seven lakes; and protecting tribal and non-tribal fisheries.
The EIS is built around guiding principles
adopted by the Icicle Work Group. Each project identified in the plan requires separate feasibility, funding, and environmental analysis. Cost of the program is estimated at $82 million, with funding opportunities for early implementation projects to be explored next. Chelan County and Ecology considered the advice of the work group, as well as over 8,800 public comments when adopting the EIS.
The work group comprises stakeholders representing the cities of Leavenworth and Cashmere, Icicle-Peshastin and Cascade Orchard irrigation districts, Icicle Creek Watershed Council, Washington Water Trust, Trout Unlimited, Yakama Nation, Colville Confederated Tribes, US Forest Service, and Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and Cascadia Conservation District.
“It’s great to see the folks in the Icicle watershed tackle the issue of how we’re going to meet our current and future water needs, especially in the face of changing climate,” said Tom Tebb, director of Ecology’s Office of Columbia River. “This EIS lays a foundation for success, and is the integrated approach we’re seeking to implement across Eastern Washington and the state.”
The Final Programmatic EIS and additional information on the Icicle Strategy is available on Chelan County’s Natural Resources Department page.
To request a thumb drive or hard copy version of the EIS, please call 509-667-6532 or send an email to email@example.com