Water Resources Division

Yakima Basin Water Resources Division Initiatives

Yakima County and the Water Resources Division
Participates in planning processes that effect water quality, water quantity and flow management, groundwater, and riverine habitats. The division supplies technical information to these planning processes and also assists the Yakima County Commissioners who serve on the policy boards which oversee or manage these initiatives in the Yakima Basin.

Lower Naches River Coordination Partnership Working Group

The Washington Department of Transportation, Yakima County and the City of Yakima came together in 2004 with the desire to develop the Lower Naches River Coordination Partnership as a result of initiatives identified in the Upper Yakima River CFHMP. The genesis of the program is to recognize that a major portion of infrastructure lies within or abuts a sensitive natural systems, primarily the Naches River, and floodplain: riparian areas; fish habitat; wetlands; and watershed. These areas are valuable public resources that may need protection and preservation. The Partnership has identified goals and objectives for infrastructure management and maintenance. Proposed projects that came from these goals and objectives have been either implemented or are in the development stages.

LNRCPWG project map


Yakima River
Yakima River

Water Storage Studies

In May 2003 the Bureau of Reclamation initiated the Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study to examine the feasibility and acceptability of storage augmentation in the Yakima River basin. The additional water storage is to benefit threatened and endangered species, irrigated
agriculture, and municipal water supply.

The study was authorized by Congress in 2003. In accordance with the authorization, the initial emphasis of the study evaluated the feasibility of the Black Rock Dam alternative.

The purpose of the Bureau of Reclamation Storage Study is to evaluate plans that would create additional water storage for the Yakima River basin.


Pine Hollow Reservoir is a component of the Ahtanum Creek Watershed Restoration Program. The overall program seeks to restore habitat and improve water supply in the Ahtanum Basin, and was overseen by the Department of Ecology, resulting in an EIS in 2004.


Yakima Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board

The Yakima Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board has developed plans for the protection and restoration of salmon in the Yakima Basin. The Subbasin Plan guides how BPA should spend funding in the basin for restoration of salmon that have been effected by mainstem Columbia River Dams. The Recovery Plan focus on Steelhead and Bull Trout, which have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Both these plans have an effect on Water Resources Division resources and management of riverine habitats in the Basin and Yakima County

The objectives of the Board are to restore sustainable and harvestable populations of salmon, steelhead, bull trout and other at risk fish and wildlife species through the collaborative, economically sensitive efforts, combined resources and wise resource management of the Yakima Basin.


Yakima Basin Ground Water Studies

Yakima Basin Ground
Water Sudies

The groundwater resources of the Yakima Basin are the focus of this cooperative study between the USGS, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Washington State Department of Ecology and Yakama Nation.

The objectives of the study are to describe the ground-water flow system and its interaction with Water Resources Division, and to integrate this information into a water-resources management tool--a numerical model. Currently, there is a moratorium on groundwater water rights in the Yakima Basin. These models will then be used to develop legal and policy recommendations for future groundwater withdrawals.