Twisp River Rearing Ponds and Habitat Improvements

Phase 1: Right Bank

This project restored a surface water connection to a series of five ponds to support acclimation, rearing, and over-wintering for endangered Steelhead. The project restores access between the Twisp River and a portion of its historic floodplain.

Twisp River Rearing Ponds

Side Channel Reconnection

The Twisp River Rearing Ponds site serves as a model for side channel reconnection in the Methow Valley. Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation is pursuing similar opportunities on the Chewuch and Methow Rivers in coordination with our partners, including the Methow Conservancy, Yakama Nation, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Reconnection of isolated side channels throughout the Methow Valley will provide important juvenile rearing habitat for endangered spring Chinook and threatened summer steelhead in the Methow Basin. For example, the Heath Floodplain Restoration project on the Upper Methow River provided access from the river to off-channel habitat in a series of large spring-fed ponds.



Outdoor Classroom

An interpretive structure and public trails along the river and ponds were completed in fall 2003. The interpretive building serves as an outdoor classroom for annual Watershed Watchers programs.

Over the past 6 years approximately 1,000 students have visited the site through Watershed Watchers and other organized school visits.

Local students plant vegetation at the ponds

Walking Trails Interpretive Center

Acclimation and Rearing

The Twisp Ponds have been utilized by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as a release and acclimation site for threatened Upper Columbia River steelhead since 2002. 

In 2009, MSRF entered into agreements with the Yakama Nation to use one of the five ponds for acclimation of coho salmon. During the first year of the program, 35,000 fish were supported in the ponds. The number was increased to nearly 90,000 in 2010.

Juvenile steelhead released into Twisp Ponds for acclimation




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