|Salmon Creek, a tributary of the Okanogan River, was regionally-renowned for large returns of anadromous salmonids. During the early 1900’s two storage reservoirs were created to irrigate 5,000 acres. An irrigation diversion located at RM 4.3 disconnected Salmon Creek from the Okanogan River, thereby preventing access by salmon and steelhead.
Beginning in 1997 the Colville Confederated Tribes and the Okanogan Irrigation District developed a partnership to maintain current agriculture production while reestablishing anadromous salmonids. Beginning during the spring of 2007 a 12-year water lease was established. The lease was initially for 700 acre-feet and then increased to 1,200 acre-feet beginning in 2009. Due to 100 years of interrupted flow, channel conditions downstream of the diversion were undefined and required a discharge of 25 cfs to provide sufficient water depth to facilitate fish passage. During 2008, a low flow channel was constructed within the stream channel. The result extended suitable fish passage conditions at a flow rate of 10 cfs, from a previous duration of 24 days to 60 days. Recent estimated returns of adult summer steelhead to Salmon Creek have ranged from 71 to 355.