Click on the map for information about Reach 1 and Reach 2.

Whitefish Island ConstructionWhitefish Island Project, November 2, 2012

Middle Methow (M2) Reach 1
Habitat Improvement Project

2012 construction at Whitefish Island

2012 Construction Complete

Whitefish Island (off Witte Road): In August of 2012, MSRF started construction at Whitefish Island, located on the Methow River between Twisp and Winthrop. This work involved reconnecting the historic side channel to year-round flows, placing 27 engineered log jams and planting over a thousand native trees and shrubs. The result was more than 1,700 feet of fully connected off-channel habitat with a mixture of constructed pools and riffles.

A recent snorkel survey of the side channel found adult Steelhead, juvenile Chinook, a bull trout, and areas of clean, worked gravel typical of spawning redds. Prior to this project’s construction, the side channel was dry throughout much of the winter and except in the wettest of years did not provide habitat for salmon during the winter. MSRF is excited about the results of this project and will continue to monitor how this site evolves, especially following the coming high water.

WDFW Floodplain (off Old Twisp Highway and Evans/Lewisia Road): Planning and construction at the WDFW Floodplain site has been underway since early 2006. Actual construction began with the removal of the Methow Valley Irrigation District dam and a partnership with the District to construct a new diversion system to ensure a continued supply of water to irrigators without impeding fish passage. (To read more about the removal of the MVID dam, click here.) A small part of this project was completed in 2012 along the left bank of the main channel with the placement of several in-channel wood structures.  These structures weathered the winter well and MSRF will be monitoring their use by fish throughout the year.

The project elements scheduled for 2013 will be similar in appearance to some of our work completed at Whitefish Island last year. One significant difference between the projects will be the removal of nearly 1,200 feet of levee necessary to reconnect flood flows with the state-owned property across from the irrigation diversion. The construction effort this year will begin in early summer with staging of materials and equipment.  Improvements to passage culverts will require short term closure of the Old Twisp Highway. To reduce impacts we will complete the road work during the summer months while school is out.

As with Whitefish Island, the primary goal of the project at WDFW is to reconnect the river to its floodplain and increase in-stream habitat for listed fish. This will be accomplished by installing a series of engineered log jams in the side channel and main channel areas. These structures are designed to reduce bank erosion while increasing available fish habitat. To ensure that both goals are met, MSRF will continue to monitor this project for at least three years following construction.

Please contact Mike Notaro at (509) 429-2939 if you have concerns with the project or would like to arrange to view the site in person.


What is the M2 Project?

M2 stands for the Middle Methow (M2) Reach Habitat Project. The Bureau of Reclamation completed the Middle Methow Reach Assessment in August 2010. The assessment provided scientific information used to help identify, prioritize, implement, and monitor sustainable fish habitat projects. The M2 Habitat Project is the next step in the process, where project sponsors like Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation and the Yakama Nation implement the actions recommended in the reach assessment.

Where is the M2?

The M2 is the area or “reach” of the Methow River between Twisp and Winthrop. To improve logistics and coordination of restoration activities, the M2 is divided into two sub-reaches:

  • M2 Reach 1 is the area from south of Winthrop near the Barkley irrigation diversion to Lewisia Rd, just below the MVID East irrigation diversion (east side of the river) and near Signal Hill Rd (west side of the river)
  • M2 Reach 2 is the area between Lewisia Rd (east side of the river) and Twisp. The Reach 2 project area is known as “Lewisia Road to Twisp,” or LRT.

Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation and the Bureau of Reclamation are taking the lead in Reach 1, and the Yakama Nation is taking the lead in Reach 2.