Department of Ecology News Release - June 29, 2023

$2.2 million in grants awarded to improve water management and watershed restoration in the Walla Walla River Basin

The $2.2 million in grant funding will support watershed restoration and water management projects in the Walla Walla River Basin. 


The Washington Department of Ecology is awarding $2.2 million in grant funding for watershed restoration and water management projects in the Walla Walla River Basin. The selected projects will help to address the basin’s decades-long challenges of meeting water needs, managing floodplains and restoring habitat.

The work to bolster water supplies and improve habitat and floodplain management is a collaborative effort between Washington, Oregon, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and an advisory committee with representation from agriculture, environment, recreation/quality of life, economic development and local government.

“We have a wide variety of project sponsors engaged in critical on-the-ground water and watershed work in the Walla Walla basin,” said Tom Tebb, director of Ecology’s Office of Columbia River. “These grants will leverage existing projects and help the basin build climate resilient ecosystems and communities now and into the future.” 

“This important work is a great complement to the recent passage of House Bill 1322, which paves the way for cooperative, bi-state water management in the Walla Walla Basin,” said Anton Chiono, habitat conservation project leader for the Umatilla Tribes’ Department of Natural Resources. “We are pleased to support a diverse list of project sponsors who are actively working to improve instream flows, restore floodplains, and monitor and manage our water resources for the fish, farms and communities of the Walla Walla River Basin.”

Chris Kowitz, North Central regional manager for the Oregon Department of Water Resources added, “the Walla Walla Basin is a bi-state basin and the partnerships we have formed reflect a commitment to engaging in water resource management across the entire watershed, regardless of the state line.”

The sponsors and projects receiving grant funds include:

Project Sponsor


Walla Walla County Conservation District

Mill Creek FbD Implementation- Phase 1

Coppei Creek Project Area C-7 Implementation

Columbia County Conservation District

Touchet Mainstem-15 Restoration Project Design Touchet River Mainstem Project 10 Restoration

City of Walla Walla

Aquifer storage and recovery updates to City Well #5

City of Dayton

Dayton Wastewater Treatment Plant Due Diligence

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Tuusi Wana Property Restoration

Walla Walla River Frenchtown Floodplain Reconnection and Habitat Improvements

Tri-State Steelheaders

Projects TBD*

Washington State University

Implementation of OpenET in the Walla Walla Basin

Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife

Mill Creek PIT Tag Arrays

Department of Ecology/Oregon Water Resources Department

Basalt Well Monitoring

Department of Ecology

Water Right Acquisition Funding

* Details on the Tri-State Steelheaders project award is TBD until other non-Ecology funding awards are announced.

Contact information

Stephanie May
Twitter: EcySpokane