The KCCD’s focus is on creating and maintaining resilient working landscapes across Kittitas County. This effort addresses natural resource concerns and priorities detailed in our annual and long range plans (click here to view). Most of the KCCD programs work across resource concerns (e.g. water quality/quantity, forest health, fish & wildlife habitat, etc.), as resilient landscapes are not limited to a single resource issue or concern. We provide landowners and land managers with technical, financial and educational assistance through our projects and programs. Below are descriptions of current projects and programs.
Yakima Tributary Access & Habitat Program (YTAHP)
The KCCD is a core team member of the Yakima Tributary Access & Habitat Program (YTAHP - "Y-Tap"). Many local water right holders/landowners YTAHP is a voluntary program in which landowners and water right holders can come into compliance with current fish passage and screening laws with considerable cost sharing advantages—a win-win situation for native fish and landowners. Since 2003, YTAHP has implemented 133 projects, screened 190 cfs and added 217 miles of rearing and spawning habitat. Read more. . . .
Irrigation Efficiencies Program
Washington’s Irrigation Efficiencies Grant Program (IEGP) restores instream flows in rivers and streams determined to not have enough water for fish populations and other competing needs. The IEGP was created in 2001 out of a desire by private landowners and environmental groups to cooperatively restore instream flows for endangered salmonid populations within the state’s 16 critical basins. Conservation districts within those basins were identified as the most effective method for delivering this complex program. Since its inception, participating conservation districts have included: Asotin County, Cascadia (Chelan County), Clallam, Columbia, Kittitas County, North Yakima, Okanogan, Pomeroy (Garfield County), South Yakima, and Walla Walla County. Since 2002, more than $4 million in cost share funds have been provide to Kittitas County landowners to implement 22 IEGP projects that placed more than 4,600 acre-feet of water in the Trust Water Rights Program. Read more. . . .
Manastash Creek Restoration Project
The Manastash Creek Restoration Project grew out of a potential Endangered Species Act related lawsuit in 2001, which followed the 1999 listing of the Mid-Columbia Summer Steelhead as a “threatened species”. The draft letter of intent to sue cited unscreened irrigation diversions, fish passage barriers blocking more than 20 miles of quality habitat and a dry reach of the Manastash Creek. Initial communications between the Washington Environmental Council, Manastash Creek water right holders, Kittitas Reclamation District, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Washington Department of Ecology and the Yakama Nation led to the formation of the Manastash Creek Steering Committee. A plan to address screening, passage and instream flow was agreed on and funding was secured from the 2002 Washington State Legislature and the Bonneville Power Administration. With significant funding in hand, the Steering Committee asked the KCCD to administer the state funds and facilitate the project. The initial work to implement the plan stalled for several years due to discussions regarding the consolidation of the irrigation diversions to a common location. A professional facilitator helped the Steering Committee modify the plan and in December 2007, an historic agreement was signed including a plan to construct fish screens, remove fish passage barriers, and improve in-stream flow conditions. Immediately after that, work began to implement the plan. Read more. . .
Manastash Creek Reach Assessment
A detailed study and analysis of the Manastash Creek watershed was completed in 2012/2013 in order to better understand of the function of the stream and the watershed and to assess both flood hazards and fish habitat conditions.This effort was was undertaken in the wake of two major flood events in March 2011 and May 2011. The project area was initially intended to focus on the lower six miles (from the mouth of Manastash Canyon to the confluence with the Yakima River. The addition of funds from several grants allowed for expansion to approximately 13 stream miles, which is the creek up through the canyon to the end of private lands. Read more. . .
Wildland Fire/Fuels Reduction
The KCCD was invited to help finish the County Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) with the Department of Natural Resources, fire chiefs from districts across the county and the Kittitas County Fire Marshal in 2008. Completion of CWPP was necessary to access grants for work with private landowners and led to securing hundreds of thousands of dollars for work on the ground to reduce fire danger and improve forest health. Our county now has 18 recognized Firewise Communities/USA and hundreds of landowners have utilized cost share funding to reduce their wildfire risks. Read more. . .
Wild Horse Wind and Solar Project Conservation Easement Monitoring
KCCD was contracted by Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to conduct monitoring of the Conservation Easement granted to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. In the process of licensing the Wild Horse Wind Power Project (WHWPP), PSE agreed to establish a voluntary conservation easement on the privately owned parcels included in the project area. The conservation easement was executed with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) in December 2008. In August 2009, PSE entered into an agreement with the KCCD to complete the baseline documentation report and the annual monitoring of the easement area for a period of 10 years. The easement aids WDFW and PSE in protecting the site’s conservation values while being managed as a working landscape for wind power generation, solar power generation, cattle grazing, hunting, public recreation and other uses as stated in the Baseline Reports. The conservation values of the property are elk and other wildlife, springs, creeks, riparian areas and shrub-steppe lands. These elements will be preserved through sound land management practices that preclude any activity that would unreasonably impair the conservation values of the property. Learn more about WHWPP here . . .
Voluntary Stewardship Program
Washington State's Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) was created in 2011 to provide an alternative approach for counties to address Growth Management requirements for agricultural activities.The purpose of Chapter 36.70A.700 is in part to promote plans to protect and enhance critical areas within the area where agricultural activities are conducted, while maintaining and improving the longterm viability of agriculture in the state of Washington. KCCD is facilitating the Watershed Group that has been assembled to write the plan for our priority watersheds. Read more here. . . .
Small Project Cost Share
Each year, KCCD offers a Small Project Cost Share Program. This program is intended to provide cost share to landowners for water quantity and water quality improvements. Anywhere from 4 to 8 projects are approved each year and landowners are eligible for 50% cost share up to a maximum of $4,000. Applications are published each August (available here) and are due September 21, 2018. The Board of Supervisors usually makes funding decisions each October. The landowners then have until the following April 30 to complete their projects. For more information contact Mark Crowley at 925-3352 ext. 5 or stop by the office.
PAM Cost Share
KCCD offers cost share for the application of polyacrylamides (PAM) for erosion control. The application of PAM can reduce irrigation induced soil erosion by as much as 90%. The USDA Agricultural Research Service provides the PAMphlet, a concise guide for the safe and practical use of PAM. KCCD offers 50% cost share up to $1,000 for PAM and 50% cost share up to $150 for PAM applicators. In order to be eligible, landowners must sign a cost share agreements with the KCCD before PAM or PAM applicators are purchased. For more information, contact Mark Crowley or stop by the KCCD office.
Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
KCCD is partnering with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to implement a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project, the "Yakima Integrated Plan - Toppenish to Teanaway". This project is the result of several attempts to apply for RCPP funds to bring cost share funding to local producers to increase drought resiliency, and improve water quality and fish & wildlife habitat through on-farm improvements and conservation easements. This is a five-year program available in Kittitas County. For more information, contact Anna at 925-3352 ext. 207 or visit our RCPP webpage.