Department of Ecology Statement - April 20, 2016

Ecology statement on Yakima enhancement bill passage

In response to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Act of 2016 amendment to the Senate Energy Bill passing the Senate and moving to the House, the Washington Department of Ecology issued the following statement:

“It is exciting to see Sen. Maria Cantwell’s Yakima water enhancement bill move forward in support of one of our most important watersheds in Washington State,” said Tom Tebb, director of the Office of Columbia River with the Washington Department of Ecology.

“This Act is essential as we build on the success we’ve already achieved in the Yakima Basin to assure water security in times of drought and to prepare for climate change.”

 “The Act will fund real projects to construct fish passage at reservoirs, improve streamflows throughout the watershed, and bolster water supplies for one of the country’s top agricultural regions.

“This is a key milestone moving forward smart water solutions built on collaboration and partnerships through the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan.

“Federal investment is crucial to the plan’s success, and will complement the significant initial investments made by Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington State Legislature, as well as local government, tribal and private sector partners.

“We are working closely with members of the House of Representatives to advance legislation in that chamber.

 “We are here because of the strong and diverse commitment made by many – including farmers, environmentalists, local, state, federal and tribal partners – who have worked tirelessly and committed personal time to advance its vision.

“We continue to work with all parties to address concerns raised with specific projects through environmental review and requisite permitting.

“Senators Cantwell and Murray (and their staff) have been great to work with and have been strong supporters of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan. We are grateful to them for their work and look forward to the next step in this process.”

Bill: Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project Phase III Act of 2016

The bill directly provides $92 million for the Cle Elum Pool Raise, groundwater recharge projects, Wapato Irrigation Project upkeep and environmental compliance efforts.

Contact:

Joye Redfield-Wilder, communications, 509-575-2610; @ecyCentral