Streamflow, fish, and habitat projects

two sockeye salmon spawning in shallow water

Sockeye spawning in the Cle Elum River

Species of salmon, steelhead, and bull trout are endangered in much of the Columbia River Basin. Our Office of Columbia River is working to enhance and protect habitat, provide fish passage, and to develop new water sources to increase instream flows when fish need it most.

Thanks to the Yakama Nation, the first sockeye hatched in the Yakima Basin in a century returned to spawn in the Cle Elum River. Building passage at Yakima Basin dams is key to their and other species' survival
Along with developing water supply for communities and farms, the Legislature directed us to develop water supplies to benefit instream uses. Resulting projects range from the 27,500 acre-feet of instream flow water provided by drawing down Lake Roosevelt another foot behind Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, to the 6,436 acre-feet of water for streamflows acquired by making diversion efficiency improvements at Barker Ranch along the Yakima River.

Two key elements of the Yakima Basin Integrated Water Management Plan address fish passage and habitat, and watershed protection and enhancement at reservoirs and important tributaries. Projects range from protecting the upper Yakima watershed by acquiring and creating the 50,241-acre Teanaway Community Forest to increasing floodplain habitat near the city of Yakima.

Columbia River Instream Atlas inventories fish priorities

We use the Columbia River Instream Atlas (Atlas) to help us determine which potential projects will provide the best benefit for fish per dollar spent. Developed with the help of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Atlas ranks stream reaches in 12 fish-critical basins.