Kittitas County landowners and irrigators have been especially concerned with fish habitat and other related issues since the listing of summer steelhead in the Middle Columbia in March of 2000. This listing attracted the attention of both landowners and regulatory agencies to the numerous unscreened irrigation diversions in Kittitas County.
KCCD recieved numerous requests from landowners concerned about fish screen needs in 2000. Working together with regional partners, the Yakima Tributary Access and Habitat Program (YTAHP, "Y-Tap") was organized in 2001/2002. This was a direct response to the requests for technical and financial assistance in the tributaries to the Yakima River, areas not addressed by larger efforts in the 80's and 90' to screen large mainstem Yakima diversions. YTAHP's stated purpose was to restore salmonid passage to Yakima tributaries that historically supported salmonids and improve habitat in areas where access is restored. Specifically, this program was designed to a) screen unscreened diversion structures to prevent fish entrainment into artificial waterways; b) provide for fish passage at man-made barriers, such as diversion dams, culverts, siphons and bridges; and c) provide information and assistance to landowners interested in to contributing to the improvement of water quality, water reliability and stream habitat.
Who is YTAHP?
YTAHP was originally formed by a group (the Core Team) that included KCCD, the North Yakima Conservation District, the South Central Washington Resource Conservation & Development Council, irrigation districts, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Yakama Nation. As YTAHP grew, so did the Core Team and now the Mid Columbia Regional Fisheries Enhancment Group, Kittitas Conservation Trust, Washington Water Trust and Trout Unlimited particpate regularly as well.
YTAHP's achievements so far include over 250 miles of the stream assessments in Yakima River tributaries (approximately equally split betweent the KCCD and the NYCD). Through that initial process we identified hundreds of potential projects. In the first 10 years of YTAHP we collectively completed 133 projects in Kittitas and Yakima Counties. Primarily these were fish screen installations and correction of fish passage barriers. Screened diversions totalled 190 cubic feet per second and the barriers removed opened access to 217 miles of rearing and/or spawning habitat.
Kittitas County Project Examples