Monday, May 30, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?

A very informative figure from a 2004 USGS report on water quality issues in the Yakima Basin. This shows only the lower river but provides a telling look into the magnitude of water diversion and the degree to which natural flow conditions have been altered to benefit irrigators. In some reaches more than 80% of the river's water is diverted through irrigation canals. The problem is particularly accute during the smolt migration as reduced instream flows slow outmigration exposing smolts to warmer water and abundant native and non-native predators.

Meanwhile in the Upper Yakima and Naches irrigation releases keep the rivers artificially high throughout the summer hindering their ability to support healthy aquatic communities and reducing the amount of slow, edge habitat essential for rearing fry.

We hope the Yakima Basin Water plan will start to address some of these issues by providing substantive increases in spring runoff flows and reducing the proportion of the Yakima's flow which is diverted for irrigation purposes.

Read the plan here:


Paul Huffman said...

Also see:


to see the flow in action.

Ryan said...

Lots and lots of things are wrong with this picture. Hopefully this new water plan will be a step in the right direction.

Osprey said...

Wow, thanks Paul for the excellent but depressing video links