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Roaring Creek is a critical perennial tributary in the Lower Entiat River, Upper Columbia Sub-Basin, in Washington. Trout Unlimited aims to improve production of listed steelhead and bull trout in the Entiat basin, and the Roaring Creek Project has multiple objectives to further this goal.
Roaring Creek is currently one of the few productive tributaries of the Entiat River for anadromous fish. Steelhead spawning surveys in Roaring Creek since 2001 show a growing trend of use by Upper Columbia River steelhead stock, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The project will more than double late season flows in Roaring Creek, restore a barrier-free creek by eliminating two diversions, and reduce water temperatures. This flow restoration proposal has the potential to add significantly to the steelhead production because of the magnitude of flow restoration and the removal of fish passage obstructions placed in the stream nearly 100 years ago. The steelhead redd count in 2012 (147) is nearly double that in the lower Entiat and can represent up to 20% of the count in the entire Entiat watershed. Flow restoration in this project will contribute up to 194% increase in late season flows, significantly improving fish habitat.
TU has defined the actual water use needs of eight Roaring Creek Water Users and secured their support to pursue alternative water source, changing their point of diversion from flow-limited tributary to not flow-limited mainstem. Seven of the eight users will be moved to a surface diversion with a pressurized, on-demand pump-back system from the non-flow limited Entiat River in 2014. The last user, currently on the lower diversion, will be moved to a new groundwater well on his property. Irrigation needs include a commercial orchard, pastures, lawns and gardens.
This project was initiated nearly 10 years ago by partner agencies. TU took the lead in 2012, and researched the water rights and secured landowner signatures to submit change applications for the point of diversion all within one year. Further, TU has secured funding for the project and developed strategic partnerships.
This project, with construction slated to begin in 2014, will make a significant contribution to salmon recovery efforts in the Entiat Basin.
Jason Hatch, project manager, TU Washinigton Water Projectjhatch@tu.org
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