Monday, May 15, 2006

More on the Umatilla Proposal for Columbia River Money

Yakima Herald Republic Online
"So why ask for Washington money to pay part of an Oregon project? "The answer is found in its projected impact on the Walla Walla River Basin. Enhanced flows resulting from the Umatilla's project will allow more water to stay in the Walla Walla River, according to, Kevin Scribner, interim executive director of the Walla Walla Watershed Alliance. Enhanced flows in the basin benefit both sides of the border, he added. "That's similar in concept to a proposed new Black Rack reservoir, 40 miles east of Yakima. If that facility is built, it would draw water from the Columbia River, allowing more water to stay in the Yakima River to enhance flows. "Two things are especially noteworthy about this initial request from the new program: It is a two-state project and it involves Indian tribes with treaty rights, which is critical to meaningful dialogue about water projects. "State officials will hold a series of four public meetings in Wenatchee on May 17, Colville on May 18, Moses Lake on May 22 and Kennewick on May 23. Discussion will center on how to implement the Columbia River management plan. "In the meantime, we take note of the fact that the Umatilla tribes have quickly moved to the head of the line with a project that bodes well for the Walla Walla basin, which has made admirable gains in flow restoration in recent years. And in so doing, they have provided the kind of collaboration and cooperation that should serve as a model for other equally worthwhile projects -- such as Black Rock, which would benefit the water-starved Yakima River Basin. * Members of the Yakima Herald-Republic editorial board are Michael Shepard, Sarah Jenkins and Bill Lee."