After decades of straightening and confining the basin’s rivers, removing beaver dams, tilling wetlands, and mining groundwater, water resources have been degraded from historic conditions.
In the 1990s, steelhead and bull trout were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and the basin’s population of spring Chinook salmon had long been eliminated. Irrigators, fishery agencies, the Walla Walla Basin Watershed Council (WWBWC), the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) and concerned citizens stepped up to address these issues. Irrigators gave up 25 cubic feet per second of water rights which revived the flow of the Walla Walla River to its mouth all summer for the first time in over 100 years - and that’s just the beginning of the story. Today the Walla Walla Basin is still in need of river flow improvements and is faced with depleted ground water resources.
Please join the WWBWC for their annual Projects Tour to see how irrigation efficiency, fish passage, fish habitat, monitoring, shallow aquifer recharge projects and partner efforts are making progress in restoring the basin and understanding the path to sustainability.
Register online at wwbwc.org or by calling the WWBWC offices at 541-938-2170.
Funding for this project is provided by:
Suitability :Open to ages 18+
Difficulty: Involves walking and standing for long periods of time. Some sites require walking over rough terrain.
Things to Bring: Sturdy walking shoes, suitable hiking attire, rain jacket, hat with a brim, sunglasses and sunscreen, refillable water bottle, camera, journal, and sense of adventure.