The Upper Yakima River Aquatic Habitat Restoration Project expanded and enhanced salmon spawning and rearing habitat in a 0.6-mile reach of the Yakima River. The project site is located in the Easton Reach about 7 river miles upstream of the confluence with the Cle Elum River. The project property is protected from future development by The Hundley Property Conservation Easement. This easement covers 438 acres on both banks of 1.3 river miles of the Yakima River.
The project site provides habitat for Spring Chinook, coho, and sockeye salmon as well as ESA listed Mid-Columbia steelhead trout. In addition, the area is designated critical bull trout habitat. The goal of the project was to improve water quality and habitat in a salmon-bearing river system to grow and restore stocks of salmon and other native fishes.
This project had two phases:
- Phase 1: 14-1214 Upper Yakima River Restoration Design | Funding: $133,260 | Completion Date: 6/15/2016
- Phase 2: Upper Yakima River Restoration | Funding: $472,713 | In Progress | Funding provided by MMF & Department of Ecology
There is a critical shortage of habitat for young salmon, which limits the growth of our salmon populations. To address this issue, we focused on creating in-stream habitat and riparian enhancements. We constructed two side channels to provide approximately 0.50 miles (2,500 feet) of off-channel rearing habitat. We also placed log structures in the side channels and created 53 in-stream pools. These pools increase the number of places for juvenile salmon to forage and rear in.
Furthermore, we installed 4,800 plants over 6.8 acres to established a shoreline buffer that enhances riparian habitat. Riparian plantings provide important benefits such as maximizing shade and providing important wildlife habitat. During this project, we took advantage of thinning activity in the property’s upland forest. Using trees on the overstocked property promoted stand resiliency while simultaneously supplying large woody materials. We used the harvested trees to build the side channel habitat log structures.
For more information on the project, you can visit the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office’s Project Snapshot: