The 8 Mile Ranch Project (8 Mile Ranch) restores habitat and hydraulic refuge for fish rearing and holding within one reach of the Chewuch River. The work performed provides fish habitat, stream complexity and restores a functional riparian zone in an area currently without any vegetation.
The Chewuch River Mile 10 Fish Habitat Enhancement Project (RM10), improves stream complexity by improving available instream habitat, increasing side channel and off channel habitat, and stabalizing eroding banks. The RM10 project encompasses 0.85 miles of river length and provides benefits to spring chinook, Upper Columbia steelhead and bull trout, as well as providing habitat for resident fish species.
Columbia River steelhead are iteroparous (able to spawn multiple times). However, as post-spawned steelhead (kelts) attempt to migrate downstream to return to the ocean, their survival is adversely affected by major dams. Therefore, an innovative approach to effectively increasing abundance and productivity of steelhead populations is to capitalize on their inherent iteroparity by reconditioning kelts.
Renchler’ Meadow is an important water storage area for Dry Creek, a tributary of Satus Creek, both of which support culturally important fish species. Meadows are extremely important for absorbing and slowly releasing rainfall and snowmelt to maintain summer base flows in streams. The meadows themselves support culturally important roots that are gathered for food, medicinal and ceremonial purposes by the Yakama people. Renchler's Meadow was impacted by a variety of human related activities in the past, which ultimately caused the stream channel to erode throughout the meadow.
Branch Creek enters North Fork Toppenish Creek at river mile 3.2, and drains a 23-square-mile watershed. Mid-Columbia River steelhead use the stream for spawning and rearing. Two locations on Branch Creek were identified as suitable for culvert removal and replacement by armored stream fords. One is located at RM 1.1 and the other at RM 1.4. The project is located in the NW1/4, NE1/4, Township 9 North, Range 14 East, Section 1, on tribal trust land in the closed area of the Yakama Reservation.
Agency Creek enters Simcoe Creek at river mile 9.5, and drains a 23-square-mile watershed. Middle Columbia River steelhead use the creek for spawning and rearing. Steelhead redd counts in Agency Creek have ranged from 4 to 20 since 1999, and the creek is recognized as a spawning aggregation for steelhead recovery purposes. Juvenile steelhead rear through the summer in the creek near its confluence with Simcoe Creek.
Yakama Reservation Watershed Project (YRWP) proposed to remove a culvert on North Fork Simcoe Creek just above its confluence with Diamond Dick Creek within the closed area of the Yakama Nation Reservation. The culvert was undersized and a seasonal barrier to ESA listed Middle Columbia River Steelhead (MCRS). At high flow, the culvert became clogged and temporarily re-routed water down the adjacent road stranding fish and damaging the road surface.
Yakama Nation Fisheries (YNF) removed a six-foot diameter culvert and the concrete fill material associated with it. The culvert was located on Toppenish Creek (watershed area is greater than 200 sq. mi.) near the confluence of Toppenish and Simcoe Creeks, approximately ½ mile west of Brownstown Rd. The culvert is on property recently acquired by the Yakama Nation.
A reach assessment of the area adjacent to the culverts was conducted to identify any risks such as potential head-cuts or areas primed for avulsion.
Satus Dam—also known as the Shadduck Dam—was installed in Satus Creek over a half-century ago by Wapato Irrigation Project (WIP). The dam was used to divert water to supplement the irrigation water in the Satus District of WIP. The diversion had been obsolete for over 20 years and WIP intended to remove the dam, but lacked funding.
Yakama Nation fisheries staff developed a plan to install fish screens on three irrigation diversion ditches in Simcoe Creek Watershed, which is home to multiple freshwater life history stages of ESA listed Mid-Columbia River steelhead. These unscreened diversions had historically diverted streamflow and ultimately caused juvenile Steelhead to be stranded in the canals at the end of the irrigation season.