Fish in Methow Valley get a boost

By Scott Yates

Work begins this week on a groundbreaking project to give fish in the Methow Valley in the state of Washington a much needed boost. 

According to Northwest Public Radio: "[The project] would put nearly 7,000 gallons-per-minute of water back in the Methow and Twisp rivers. That aids fish like the: Endangered Spring-run Chinook and the threatened Upper Columbia River Steelhead and Columbia River Bull Trout.

The project will also spur some temporary construction jobs for the area that has been hard hit by the Carlton Complex wildfires and huge mudflows."

From our vantage here at Trout Unlimited, this project represents the culmination of years of negotiations and is the result of a complex web of water rights, political, and cultural change that will result in both improved operations and infrastructure for local water users and more flow and better passage for fish.

When it’s completed in 2016, TU and the agency partners will have invested over 5 years and 10 million dollars in designing, funding, and constructing the project. It will result in more than 10 cfs of additional flow to Methow and Twisp rivers, improved fish passage, and continue the long line of collaboration and transactional work on streamflow issues in a critical Upper Columbia River ESA-driven tributary (chinook, steelhead, and bull trout).

On a more personal note, it’s also the river system where I grew up – a place that means a hell of a lot to me and other people and anglers around the country. I drove to the valley last night with a Pacific Northwest Region representative from the Bureau of Reclamation and he was giddy about the prospect of this project going through. In honesty, I share that feeling. The value of the work we're doing on the ground is not just good for the fish, but it's good for the community, and work that is going to pay off for years to come. 


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