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200728800 - Touchet Eastside and Westside Irrigation District Piping

Sponsor: Walla Walla County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD)

Budgets: FY07: $16,852 | FY08: $492,830 | FY09: $490,318

Short description: Improve passage for adult mid-Columbia steelhead returning to the Touchet R. headwater spawning area by increasing instream flows in the lower mainstem. This will be accomplished by converting from open ditch to piped conveyance on 2 irrigation districts.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0


ISRP final recommendation: Not fundable


The proposed work is part of a larger effort to restore flows to the Touchet River. This larger effort is supported by significant funds from multiple sources. The fisheries benefits accrued from the proposed project are uncertain. Apparently no EDT or any other type of analysis was done to estimate amount of flow increases needed to significantly increase fish production. The scientific credibility of this project depends on development of a hypothesis regarding the magnitude of fisheries and habitat benefits expected and strategies to obtain data to test it. The results of the larger effort to provide flows could provide important benefits to fish over the longer term, but again specific estimates of these benefits were not provided by the sponsors. The response of the sponsors of project #200733000 is an example of how fisheries and habitat benefits from increased flow could be estimated. The sponsors did not provide additional background on the project area as requested by the ISRP. This proposal should be linked to the Columbia Basin Water Transaction Program (# 200201301) and address that program’s criteria for water transactions that are relevant to the proposed actions.

State/province recommendation: Not fundable due to budget constraints

Review group: OSPIT - Plateau

Recommended budgets: FY07: (n/a) | FY08: (n/a) | FY09: (n/a)

Comment: OSPIT recognizes the importance of this project to the basin, but believes that other sources of funding would be available to complete the piping work and would recommend that the sponsors request the Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program to purchase the resulting saved water.

State/province recommendation: Washington

Review group: Washington list

Recommended budgets: FY07: (n/a) | FY08: (n/a) | FY09: (n/a)

Comment: See Washington guidance