Manastash Creek Reach Assessment
This project was a detailed study and analysis of the Manastash Creek watershed intended to provide a better understanding of the function of the stream and the watershed and the impacts of man-made infrastructure activities on the stream. From this came a process of determining the best practices (for habitat improvement and flood management), the locations where these practices are needed and, finally, a prioritized list of potential projects. The project area was initially intended to focus on the lower six miles (from the mouth of Manastash Canyon to the confluence with the Yakima River. The addition of funds from other grants has allowed for expansion and the current goal is the study approximately 13 stream miles, which is the creek up through the canyon to the end of private lands. See Project Area Map.
The initial project funding was secured through an existing grant held by the KCCD from the Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB). We requested a change in scope for that existing grant to initiate a reach assessment or detailed study and analysis of Manastash Creek. That change was approved in 2012 making $112,959 available for the project. In March 2012 the District applied for a grant through the Washington State Conservation Commission for watershed planning, in order to expand the assessment. The application for $50,038 was approved and a contract signed the first week of April. The Kittitas County Flood Control Zone District provide $40,000 specifically for the flood hazard assessment portion and the US Bureau of Reclamation provided another $25,000.
An open house style meeting is scheduled for July 11, 2013 6:30PM at the Days Inn (901 Berry Road, Ellensburg) to present the completed "Corridor Management Plan" for Manastash Creek. Both the Corridor Management Plan and the final Current Conditions Report are available for review. You can download them below.
These are large documents. If you'd prefer, we can burn them to a CD or we can print paper copies. If this is your preference, please give us a call so we can have them ready for you to pick up. We will have both CDs and limited paper copies at the open July 11 meeting.
While this is the end of the initial reach assessment and our contract with Herrera and WATERSHED Science and Engineering, it is not the end of our efforts in the Manastash. We hope to move forward with some of the priority projects and to continue to develop others as funding allows. See you all on the 11th.
2011 Flood Event Photos
Looking downstream from the KRD South Branch bridge
KRD South Branch bridge. At the peak of the event, water was overtopping this bridge
North of Manastash Creek between the KRD South Branch Canal and Cove Road. The main creek channel is in the trees in the background.
Barnes Road Bridge
Last night's Landowner Committee meeting was very well attended. Thank you to everyone who came and stayed through the long presentation!
As promised, the maps with the project opportunities are available below along with the written summaries of each of the 21 reaches of Manastash Creek.
These project opportunties are ideas to address both flood hazard and fish habitat issues in 13 miles of Manastash Creek. Please review them and provide comments and input on accuracy of the maps (e.g. are major issues identified correctly) and on the types of potential projects or activities and the high/medium/low priority levels assigned to each.
We are asking that both the Landowner Committee members and Technical Committee members to provide comments and feedback on the maps and summaries by April 12, 2013. You may provide them by e-mail, regular mail, phone or by stopping by the office. If you'd prefer paper copies of the maps and written summaries, stop by the office or give us a call and we can mail you the information.
Project opportunities written summary by reach. The written summaries have the same reach labels as you see below.
All Reach Maps in one File (may take some time to download)
Individual reach maps are available by clicking on the descriptions below. I added general addresses on Manastash Road to some of the map titles below in order to help landowners locate themselves in the maps.
We are rescheduling the Landowner Committee meeting originally scheduled for tonight to March 28th (same time and location). An e-mail was sent to the Landowner Committee list last week, but we neglected to update the website. Our apologies for any inconvenience.
The next Technical Committee meeting is scheduled for March 6, 2013 at 1:00 at the Kittitas County Community Development Services Conference room (Ruby Street). The next Landowner Committee meeting is the following Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30 PM at the Days Inn Conference Room (901 Berry Road, Ellensburg). The purpose of these meetings is to present the final current conditions report and to review and prioritize the list of potential projects in the watershed.
Tomorrow is both a Technical Committee meeting and Landowner Committee meeting. The Technical Committee meeting is at 1:00 at the KCCD office. The Landowner Committee meeting is at 6:30 at the Days Inn (901 Berry Road).
The purpose of the meetings is to present the draft current conditions report compiled by Herrera and Watershed Science and Engineering and the draft criteria to prioritize project opportunities. The current conditions report is available for downloading and as hard copies at the District office and tomorrow's meetings. The draft project criteria are also available for review. Any committee members who are unable to attend tomorrow's meetings are invited to review and comment on the documents as well. Comments will be taken through mid December.
Hope to see you all tomorrow.
The Project Kick-Off meeting was held last night at Hal Holmes. Turnout was great with more than 40 attendees. Anna's powerpoint presentation is in the table to the right. The consultants, Herrera Environmental and WATERSHED Science & Engineering, were represented by Matt Brennan and Jeff Johnson. Their powerpoint presentation is also in the table to the right.
Matt and Jeff are expecting to receive the LIDAR data later this month, so they can begin their assessment. Field work is tentatively scheduled for July. We did ask for landowner permission to access Manastash Creek to conduct the field work. The form states the purpose of the site visit, the timing, and a hold harmless statement that protects both the District and the landowner. We've asked landowners who are willing to allow access to sign the form and send it back to us. The more access we have, the better the inventory and analysis will be. The field work involves only looking at the creek and surrounding area and taking measurements and photographs. It is not permission to do anything to the creek or your land now or in the future.
As always, anyone interested in learning more about the project is welcome to contact us. If you'd like to meet in person, please give us a call first (925-8585 ext. 4). Our schedules sometimes require us to be out of the office and we don't want to miss you. Anna
The Landowner Committee meeting notes and presentation are now available. We are continuing to discuss the scope of work for the project. It's more complicated that anticipated, so it's taking more time. We hope to have it out for review by early Monday. Landowners continue to contact us to be added to the committee list. The list is now over 30! Anna
This week we conducted our first meeting of the Landowner Committee. More than 20 interested landowners attended. Yesterday, the District's Board of Supervisors selected the consulting firm from the pool of four who where interviewed in late March. We are on track to have the consultant under contract before the end of the month.
We are drafting the scope of work for the consultant. We anticipate a draft for review by the Technical Committee, the Landowner Committee and by the Salmon Recovery Funding Board's State Review Panel by next Tuesday or Wednesday.
Thank you all for your interest! Anna
Open Letter to Manastash Creek Landowners (Mailed March 30, 2012)
The Kittitas County Conservation District (the “District”) is beginning a Reach Assessment for Manastash Creek. We have talked with individual landowners and Kittitas County Public Works for the last couple of years about specific projects or problem areas on the creek. After last May’s flood event, it became apparent that a larger scale, long term plan is needed for the creek and the floodplain. Before a plan can be completed, an assessment and inventory of existing data and existing conditions must be conducted. This work is referred to as a reach assessment.
We had an opportunity to convert an existing funding source so that it could be used for a reach assessment. It took some time to gain approval from the granting agency and that was finally accomplished in late January. The grant expires in less than a year, so work must begin quickly. The District has already advertised for consultants and is currently in the process of selecting a firm to conduct the work. The District has also convened a technical work group that includes state, federal and tribal fisheries interests, as well as Kittitas County Public Works. This group will provide technical input as the assessment moves forward.
We are inviting you, as a Manastash landowner, to participate in a Landowner Committee that will also provide input as the Reach Assessment progresses. This letter is being direct mailed to over 180 landowners in the Manastash watershed, whose names and addresses were taken from the Tax Parcel information maintained by the Kittitas County Assessor’s office. An active Landowner Committee is essential to the completion of an accurate assessment and to produce a viable action plan. If you are interested in participating, please let me know. I am assembling an e-mail list for the Landowner Committee, so please e-mail me at if you’d like to have your name added to the list. If you do not use e-mail, please call me and I can mail you paper copies of the project updates.
In addition to the Landowner Committee, the District plans to hold at least two public meetings during the course of the Reach Assessment. These meetings are intended to provide information on the progress of the Reach Assessment and to solicit input from the landowners, the public and interested parties. We also have a webpage dedicated to this work on our website. You should be able to visit this site anytime for information on current work, planned work, meetings and other business related to the Reach Assessment.
The District is a local unit of government that has been in existence for 70 years. Our Board of Supervisors consists of five local landowners who govern the operations of our District. We provide technical, financial and educational assistance to landowners and land managers throughout the County. We are non-regulatory and work to implement programs and projects that are voluntary and incentive based. We are not part of Kittitas County government, but a separate political sub-division of state government. If you’re interested in learning more about us, please visit our website at .
We are excited for the opportunity to conduct an assessment of Manastash Creek. Together we have an opportunity to better understand the creek and the watershed and to use that understanding to craft a plan and vision for the Manastash. Please call me (925-8585 ext. 4) or stop by the office if you have questions or would like more information.
Anna Lael District Manager