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Yakima Basin Clean Water Partnership

The Yakima Basin Clean Water Partnership shares similar goals with many other water quality efforts in our basin.   This RC&D Committee was originally formed to explore the applicability of an Ecosystem Services Market in the Yakima River Basin.


We  focused on strategies that could lead to more effective spending of  limited conservation dollars. We worked with point sources, non-point sources, regulators, and other stakeholders to develop  holistic strategies to reach water quality goals in our watershed.


We are also developed tools to quantify the benefits of conservation activities and identify remaining opportunities for Ecosystem Services improvement.

Our mission is to lead in developing, promoting, and advancing implementation strategies to improve water quality for the benefit of all communities in the Yakima Basin.

Our unique role is to provide:

  • Cleaner water faster using an action-based approach, with a focus on the Yakima Basin.

  • A proactive and results oriented group.

  • Grass roots, locally-led, and voluntary participation.

  • Accountability, transparency, inclusiveness, and credibility.

  • An adaptive management approach.

In addition, the Committee was formed to help bring together cutting edge science, political resources, and collaboration to improve water quality work in Yakima Basin.



Calibrating the Nutrient Tracking Tool For Use in the Lower Yakima Basin

We completed this project with the assistance of Dr. Ali Saleh of the Texas Institute of Applied Environmental Research. With local input, he was able to calibrate the existing Nutrient Tracking Tool for limited application in Yakima and Benton counties. This project holds high potential for helping identify high priority areas and activities for nutrient reduction activities on farms.

NTT model to use and provide input on the model yourself

NTT Fact Sheet for more information about the tool

NTT Tutorial, updated to include Yakima and Benton counties

Developing Outreach and Application Support for WSU/UW's EPA Nutrient Center Project

The research objective will be addressed by employing the Comprehensive Economic and Environmental Optimization Tool (CEEOT; Osei et al., Saleh et al., 2000). CEEOT is a multi-disciplinary integrated computer modeling system that includes environmental and economic modules. The environmental module includes the Agricultural Policy Environmental eXtender (APEX; Williams et al, 2000), a field-scale model and Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT; Arnold et al., 1998), and a watershed simulator. APEX is the core simulation model within the Nutrient Tracking Tool (NTT: Saleh et al., which is currently being applied to the Yakima basin in another project. The economic module of CEEOT comprises Farm-level Economic Model (FEM; Osei et al., 2000; Osei et al., 2012).

Cost Effective Nutrient Reductions in Wastewater Treatment Plants, Phase 1

The purpose of this project was to identify cost effective strategies for reducing phosphorous loading at 18 municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP) across the Yakima River Basin in Washington State. Drs. David Stensel and James Barnard, with help from a local project team, gathered information on each facility regarding their current treatment processes, made site visits at many of the facilities, and then conducted 3 workshops for facility operators and other interested stakeholders. By identifying a baseline of “reasonable measures” that should be taken by point sources to reduce phosphorous in their effluents, we can develop a plan to help cities achieve that baseline. We could then work toward an agreeable point where point sources could participate in an Ecosystem Services Market that would enable them to invest in restoration or improvement of ecosystem services at a watershed level by working with non-point sources.

Yakima Basin Point Source Watershed Assessment: A poster presented at the December 2012 ACES conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Cost Effective Nutrient Reductions in Wastewater Treatment Plants, Phase 2

As the recipients of a USDA Rural Development Technical Assistant and Training Grant the RC&D provided assistance to cities in the Yakima and Wenatchee River Basins. The overall goal of this project was to provide hands-on assistance to several Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) in rural and low income communities in central Washington to implement Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) modifications to their facilities.  Successfully implemented plant modifications were  demonstrated at the Toppenish WWTP and Kittitas WWTP. Outreach and training on nutrient removal was provided to communities throughout central Washington and eastern Washington. This effort was the second phase of ongoing assistance, which first began in 2012 with phase 1 above.

The Washington RC&D Council completed this project in partnership with Drs. David Stensel and James Barnard, and Yakima Community College.  The project team provided hands-on technical assistance, training, and outreach to help WWTPs identify a reasonable goal for reducing nitrogen and phosphorous discharge, and helped them meet that goal. 

The RC&D completed this project as part of ongoing, proactive efforts to assist communities in addressing water quality in the Yakima Basin in a sustainable and holistic way.   

Final Report

Presentations From the Project Workshop September 16, 2015

Yakima Basin Floodplain Inventory and Opportunity Analysis

This project utilized existing GIS data in the basin to map all floodplain through the Yakima Basin to identify areas of potential connection, restoration, or improvement. This project was completed in December of 2012 and was completed through a partnership with the Yakama Nation.

Yakima Basin Ecosystem Services Market Analysis

This project's goal was to describe how an Ecosystem Services Market could hypothetically look in the Yakima Basin, and elsewhere. It helps to identify the obstacles and opportunities to look for in market development. This project was completed in December of 2012.

Designing A Productive Outreach Effort

This project was intended to describe the steps necessary during the early efforts of a local group in assessing the potential for the development of an Ecosystem Services Market. This project was completed in December of 2012.

More Resources

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