Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan Programmatic EIS

ESA  Image

Central Washington’s Yakima River basin is home to one of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s oldest and most productive irrigation projects. However, existing water resources infrastructure, programs, and policies in the basin are unable to consistently meet water demands for fish and wildlife habitat, dry year irrigation, or municipal water supply. The Washington State Department of Ecology, Reclamation, the Yakama Nation, and basin stakeholders have been studying ways to improve water supply and fish habitat for over 30 years.

ESA has collaborated with Ecology and Reclamation over the past seven years in the development and environmental review of proposed water solutions. Our team initially prepared the SEPA analysis for the Yakima River Basin Storage Draft Planning Report/EIS which evaluated new reservoir options in the basin. We partnered with Ecology to evaluate a broader range of alternatives using an integrated view of solutions to water problems, considering fish passage, new storage projects, improvements to the existing irrigation system, habitat protection and restoration, water conservation, water marketing, and groundwater storage. This work led Reclamation and Ecology to establish a workgroup of basin stakeholders to develop the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan, recently recognized for its innovation by the American Water Resources Association. ESA prepared the combined NEPA/SEPA Programmatic EIS for the Integrated Plan, meeting a tight schedule to accommodate funding requests to the Washington State Legislature and Congress.

As the Integrated Plan developed, ESA provided timely assistance and expertise on a variety of environmental and policy issues. Our responsiveness is rooted in our proven success in navigating NEPA and SEPA and our familiarity with the local community and water challenges based on over 25 years of work in the Pacific Northwest. The award-winning Integrated Plan is moving toward successful implementation because it addresses interconnected resources, solves multiple problems, provides for adaptation in the face of change and uncertainty, and draws support from diverse stakeholders and permitting agencies.

Specialized Services

  • Endangered Species Act
  • Environmental impact statements
  • Environmental scoping meetings
  • Fisheries habitat enhancement
  • Habitat restoration and enhancement
  • Native American, ethnographic, and archaeological studies
  • Visual impact analyses
  • Washington state environmental impact statements
  • Water conservation and reuse
  • Watershed management plans

Related images

ESA  Image