Methow Valley Irrigation District East Diversion Renovation

Project Location:  Middle Methow River

WA Department of Transportation Aviation Division

Species Benefited:
Spring Chinook Salmon, Steelhead Trout, Bull Trout

Project Status:
  Phase 1
  • Fish screen improvements completed in 2004
  • Intake Canal reopened in 2006
  • Partial dam removal completed December 2007
  •   Phase 2
  • Dam foundation removal completed December 2008
  •   Phase 3
  • Diversion intake and fish return renovation scheduled for fall 2009
  • Site restoration is scheduled for spring 2010
  • Monitoring will take place through 2010

  • Funding:
    Bonneville Power Administration, Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board


  • Bureau of Reclamation (Technical Assistance and Design)
  • Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (Project Development and      Construction Oversight)

  • Project Description:
    MVID East Diversion Dam Before
    The Methow Valley Irrigation District East dam was built sometime before the historic flood of 1948.  Spanning the Methow River, the dam’s log crib foundation lies buried in the riverbed with wooden beams and planks forming the upper part of the structure. Unfortunately, while providing flows necessary for irrigation, the MVID East dam created a fish passage barrier during low water and altered natural river flows resulting in on-going bank failures and channel incision.

    Over time, the river began to enlarge a formerly intermittent side channel just upstream and across the river from the MVID East head works. Landowners, river biologists, and MSRF agreed that leaving the dam in place could cause the river to completely move away from the diversion, turning the side channel into the main river channel.  Such alteration would then increase erosion for downstream landowners and strand fish attempting to exit from the from the MVID East fish screens located at the head works.

    MVID following initial work efforts

    MSRF partnered with the Methow Valley Irrigation District and the Bureau of Reclamation to develop a series of staged projects that would improve river conditions for ESA listed fish and help restore natural channel-forming processes in this reach of the river by reducing the effects of the irrigation diversion.  By breaking the project into smaller steps, work could be completed in water in shorter intervals during periods of low fish use.



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