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Hydrologic and Ecological Restoration Meets Cultural Values in the Toppenish Creek Watershed, Yakama Indian Reservation

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Abstract:

The Toppenish Creek watershed lies within the Yakama Indian Reservation. In Plateau tribal cultures, water (chush) is a sacrament. The Yakima Nation is improving fish and wildlife habitat while returning culturally significant plants to their members.

In the 1990’s, the Yakama Nation established these goals:

1. Restore natural riparian and upland vegetation patterns,
2. Moderate the flow regime on fish bearing streams,
3. Improve aquatic and wildlife habitat,
4. Monitor changes in fish populations, watershed behavior and restoration results.
5. Restore traditional tule and other cultural plants such as wapato.

NRCS joined the Yakama Nation and assisted with a restoration project on 1300 acres. 28 rock structures were installed in the channel to mimic the effects of beaver dams. These structures allowed for fish passage and raised the water table to historic levels.

Monitoring has revealed a permanent high water table near the surface, native vegetation re-appearing, new bird sightings, and tribal members once again harvesting wapato. Native steelhead fish are using the system for rearing. Deer, elk, and beaver are present. Riparian species have appeared in greater numbers. The Tribe’s expectation has been met and is now planning on additional restoration projects. The project is serving as a model for other Northwest tribes who have similar visions of bringing back natural landscapes. The success has brought together the Tribe and NRCS to work together to meet a common vision and to demonstrate to other Tribes and agencies that ecological restoration can be achieved while meeting important Tribal cultural values.
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Association:
Name: SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION SOCIETY
URL:
http://www.swcs.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p235272_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Cooke, Larry. "Hydrologic and Ecological Restoration Meets Cultural Values in the Toppenish Creek Watershed, Yakama Indian Reservation" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION SOCIETY, TBA, Tucson, Arizona, Jul 26, 2008 <Not Available>. 2013-12-14 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p235272_index.html>

APA Citation:

Cooke, L. , 2008-07-26 "Hydrologic and Ecological Restoration Meets Cultural Values in the Toppenish Creek Watershed, Yakama Indian Reservation" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION SOCIETY, TBA, Tucson, Arizona <Not Available>. 2013-12-14 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p235272_index.html

Publication Type: Poster Presentation
Abstract: The Toppenish Creek watershed lies within the Yakama Indian Reservation. In Plateau tribal cultures, water (chush) is a sacrament. The Yakima Nation is improving fish and wildlife habitat while returning culturally significant plants to their members.

In the 1990’s, the Yakama Nation established these goals:

1. Restore natural riparian and upland vegetation patterns,
2. Moderate the flow regime on fish bearing streams,
3. Improve aquatic and wildlife habitat,
4. Monitor changes in fish populations, watershed behavior and restoration results.
5. Restore traditional tule and other cultural plants such as wapato.

NRCS joined the Yakama Nation and assisted with a restoration project on 1300 acres. 28 rock structures were installed in the channel to mimic the effects of beaver dams. These structures allowed for fish passage and raised the water table to historic levels.

Monitoring has revealed a permanent high water table near the surface, native vegetation re-appearing, new bird sightings, and tribal members once again harvesting wapato. Native steelhead fish are using the system for rearing. Deer, elk, and beaver are present. Riparian species have appeared in greater numbers. The Tribe’s expectation has been met and is now planning on additional restoration projects. The project is serving as a model for other Northwest tribes who have similar visions of bringing back natural landscapes. The success has brought together the Tribe and NRCS to work together to meet a common vision and to demonstrate to other Tribes and agencies that ecological restoration can be achieved while meeting important Tribal cultural values.

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