Follow by Email

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bumping Lake dam project - bait and switch?

Anyone care to place a wager that if this thing goes ahead the majority of the "mitigation" will never happen, but the dam raising will? Not that it wouldn't still be a rotten deal even with all the "goodies." N3C does not support this, despite general claims by American Rivers' Michael Garrity to support from his "colleagues in the conservation community..."

Watch for the upcoming issue of The Wild Cascades, due out this month, for N3C's position on raising the Bumping Lake Dam. Hopefully we can slow down the "fast track" toward approval of this.

>>>>N3C members get their copies of TWC first...!

Ironically, the below newspaper article was accompanied by a stark photo of stumps next to a drawn-down reservoir! Do we want (relatively) pristine Bumping Lake to be reduced to this?? As anyone who's been there can tell you, the area proposed to be flooded is the site of huge ancient forest, rare large trees for the east side of the Cascades. Quite a bit larger, even, than the stumps that the Yakima paper chose to portray...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011 AT 10:23PM
Conservation groups could back water storage plan
by David Lester
Yakima Herald-Republic

YAKIMA, Wash. -- For what is likely the first time ever in Washington state, a coalition of conservation groups has agreed to support a broad plan that calls for new water storage in the Yakima Valley.
The endorsement by nine environmental groups is contingent on preserving and restoring about 71,000 acres in the basin watershed for habitat, water quality and other environmental benefits.
Privately owned land that could be acquired to provide environmental benefits includes the headwaters of the Little Naches River, Taneum and Manastash creeks, the Teanaway River drainage and the Yakima River Canyon.
The proposal also calls for additional wilderness designations around Bumping Lake, among other locations.
Support from the environmental community is vital to winning state and federal funds to put the estimated $5 billion integrated water plan into effect over the next 20 years, addressing one of the biggest perennial problems facing farmers: the threat of drought.
Michael Garrity, representing American Rivers, told other water stakeholders Wednesday that his colleagues in the conservation community favor moving toward an environmental impact statement, the next step in what will be a long process to make the plan a reality.
"We feel it would be the wrong thing not to be where we are," Garrity told representatives of local, state and federal government agencies, irrigators, the Yakima Nation and fish agencies that have worked on the plan since June 2009.
The goal is to improve water supplies for irrigation, bolster basin fish runs and provide water for municipal and industrial growth.
Environmental review of the plan's elements will be on a fast track.
Derek Sandison, representing the state Department of Ecology which, with the federal Bureau of Reclamation, brought the various stakeholders together, said a draft impact statement is possible this fall.
The plan features new storage, including expanding Bumping Lake to 190,000 acre-feet and building a new 160,000 acre-foot reservoir at Wymer in the river canyon; fish passage at basin dams; water conservation; watershed protections; water banking; and some operational changes in the basin's water-delivery system.
The conservation groups signing a letter of support are: the Cascade Land Conservancy, Conservation Northwest, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, The Trust for Public Land, Washington Environmental Council, and the Wilderness Society.
One group, the Sierra Club, opposes added storage.
Properties that are candidates for preservation and restoration are almost entirely in Kittitas County.
While concerned about what he called the "robust" nature of the environmental proposal, Kittitas County Commission Chairman Paul Jewell said the county would be willing to talk about supporting the concept.
Jewell, who is part of the work group, said the county is concerned about impacts to its tax base and how acquired private lands would be managed.
Jeff Tayer, regional director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the environmental improvements would provide a better future for fish and bird species listed under the Endangered Species Act.

* David Lester can be reached at 509-577-7674 or

ANDY SAWYER/Yakima Herald-Republic file
Among the mix of ideas for solving chronic water shortages in the Yakima River Basin is the expansion of Bumping Lake to 190,000 acre-feet.

1 comment:

Michael Garrity said...

The general "conservation community" language you quote was from the reporter, not me. I was careful at yesterday's meeting to specify which organzations support moving ahead with further analysis of this plan.

As I have explained to some N3C board members over coffee, American Rivers will only support a final plan where the land acquisition and protection is as certain as any other element of the plan.

-Michael Garrity, American Rivers