Yakima Basin Fish Barrier & Screen Inventory Project Update

7/30/2014  By Chantell Krider - YBFWRB
On July 23, YBFWRB convened the first of several meetings about fish barriers and screens in the Yakima Basin. Attending the meeting were local partners including WDFW, DOE, USFWS, Trout Unlimited, North Yakima Conservation District, Kittitas County Conservation District, Klickitat Conservation District, RC&D Board member, Yakama Nation, USFS, DC Consulting, Washington Water Trust, and the Washington Department of Transportation. The state was represented by WDFW and Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office staff .

The goals for the meeting were to provide an update participants on the fish barrier / screen inventory project (The Sculpin – May 2014). The Board is working on evaluating progress towards fish passage goals in the Yakima Steelhead Recovery Plan, and WDFW is updating its fish passage database and communication strategy. The meeting provided an opportunity for WDFW to present the Fish Passage and Diversion Screening Inventory (FPDSI) database and updated fish barrier and screen assessment protocol. The group also heard from the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Board regarding the State of the Salmon (SOS) report, an on-line publication showcasing salmon recovery statewide.

This year’s SOS will include a feature article on fish barrier and screening efforts in the Yakima Basin (with special attention paid to landowner privacy concerns and data sharing preferences). The SOS report is an important communication tool for local recovery managers, providing an opportunity to connect salmon recovery dollars to restoration actions. The SOS report is geared toward the general public and state legislature. In addition to the SOS report, progress regarding steelhead spawning habitat accessibility as a result of fish passage projects will be incorporated into the NOAA 5-year review.

Twelve data sources have been identified for existing fish barriers and screening opportunities. The fish barriers and screen data sources include on-line databases, off-line databases, and historic surveys archived on paper forms. In addition to fish barrier and screening project opportunities, an inventory of completed projects will also be developed. Once the data are compiled, the YBFWRB will verify accuracy with local partners. Additionally, regional recovery managers will have the opportunity to participate in the WDFW fish barrier and screen training this fall for assessing areas of unknown status.

The long-term goal of the fish barrier / screen inventory project is to develop a systematic basin-wide approach that identifies new project areas and tracks our progress in fixing barriers and installing screens.

Stay tuned for a fall meeting including an update on the fish barrier / screen inventory and discussion of how we can build a project prioritization process based on local and state decision frameworks. In the coming months, the YBFRWB will be conducting outreach to partners and providing technical assistance for participation in the fish barrier / screen inventory project.

Please contact Chantell Krider, Recovery Program Coordinator, at (509) 453-4104 x 3 or  with any questions or ideas.

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