Upper Yakima River Aquatic Habitat Restoration Project
Kittitas Conservation Trust is utilizing this planning grant to develop final designs for restoration elements that will expand and enhance salmonid spawning and rearing habitat in a 0.6 mile reach of the mainstem Yakima River. The project site is located in the Easton Reach about 7 river miles upstream of the confluence with the Cle Elum River. The fundamental goal of the project is to improve aquatic and riparian habitat in a salmon bearing river system so as to grow and restore stocks of native anadromous and resident fishes. The Upper Yakima River at the project location supports Spring Chinook, coho, and sockeye salmon, ESA listed Mid-Columbia steelhead trout, and is designated critical habitat for bull trout. This design project will produce final construction plans for instream structures and riparian enhancements that will address the primary limiting factor for expansion of populations of these high priority species - a critical shortage of rearing habitat for small juvenile fish.
Project designs will express a landscape scale conservation strategy whereby thinning activities in the property's upland forest that promote stand resiliency will simultaneously supply large woody materials to be used in building instream and edge habitat log structures. The project property is protected from future development by a perpetual conservation easement covering 438 acres on both banks of 1.3 river miles of the Yakima River.