Tieton River (WA) recreation survey

posted September 6, 2006
by Thomas O'Keefe

article photo 1

River Recreation Survey

The U.S. Forest Service in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation is in the process of gathering data from recreational users of the Tieton, Naches and Bumping Rivers and Rimrock, Clear and Bumping Reservoirs. This information will be used by the Bureau of Reclamation as part of a study to determine the impact of recreation on water resources as it relates to water storage. Potential impacts to all resources will be identified during the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement “EIS” that will be conducted on the Water Storage Study alternatives.

American Whitewater encourages all paddlers who enjoy the resources of the Tieton, Naches, and Bumping Rivers to fill out a survey which can be sent by mail, email, or submitted in person (additional information and form download).

Fall Releases on the Tieton

Fall releases on the Tieton River begin this week and should be good for this coming weekend. Every year around Labor Day the Bureau of Reclamation begins their annual drawdown of the Tieton River's Rimrock Reservoir. Up until this date, reservoirs on the Yakima River provided the majority of the flow for irrigation needs in the Lower Yakima Valley. With these reservoirs almost empty (teacup diagram), the Bureau of Reclamation initiates the annual flip-flop, which consists of reducing flows on the Yakima and increasing flows on the Tieton to serve irrigation needs at the end of the season.

Check the Tieton gauge before you head out if you don't want to be left high and dry (if this link is not working the Army Corps provides an alternate gauge link)

Recreational boaters and commercial outfitters benefit from the dependable fall releases that come at a time when other regional rivers are at a seasonal low. Flows are typically held above 1000 cfs for a couple weeks depending on storage in Rimrock Reservoir. Because flows on this river are tightly regulated, vegetation has grown up along the banks of the river making for a shoreline that is very brushy.

For additional information and daily updates check the Yakima Project system status page which is updated each morning. You can also call the Yakima River Hotline (509-575-5854) which is updated daily.

Thomas O'Keefe
3537 NE 87th St.
Seattle, WA 98115
Phone: 425-417-9012