Enhancing Fish Habitat
Since 1999, Congress has directed federal agencies, through the Endangered Species Act (ESA), to restore and improve threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead runs in the Pacific Northwest. Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation (MSRF) serves as a local project sponsor for implementation of these federal projects.
To date, MSRF has ensured the restoration or enhancement of fish passage to over 30 miles of salmon spawning and rearing habitat on the Chewuch River with the Fulton and Chewuch projects. On the Methow River, we removed a channel-spanning dam during the first phase of the MVID East project. In the Twisp River watershed, we removed the last passage barrier on Poorman Creek.
MSRF is also working with public and private landowners on the Twisp, Chewuch, and Methow Rivers to reconnect and improve off-channel habitat to benefit juvenile salmonids. The Twisp River Rearing Ponds, the Elbow Coulee Floodplain Restoration project, and the Heath Floodplain Restoration project are examples of how agencies, non-profits, and landowners can form partnerships to increase salmon habitat in our watershed.
Improving Stream Flows and Irrigation
Since 2001, MSRF has worked with local landowners to increase flows on the Methow Valley’s many critical rivers and creeks by improving irrigation efficiency or converting from river diversions to groundwater wells. These projects have dramatically increased the amount of water left in streams for fish, while improving access to and reliability of irrigation water for over 2,000 acres of locally-owned farmland.
Balancing the Needs of People and Fish
From local ranchers, business owners, and educators to community developers, investors, and regional conservation groups, MSRF strives to bring together diverse interests. Working together with local, regional, and national partners, our goal is to effect positive and lasting change for both the local community and for the natural environment.