Icicle Creek Subbasin Watershed Strategy

Aspect is the technical and facilitation lead for the $82 Million Icicle Strategy effort, which is designed to improve instream flows, assist in agricultural sustainability, and provide for local domestic growth beyond the year 2050 in the Icicle Creek Subbasin in North Central Washington. Aspect serves the Icicle Working Group that consists of members including Chelan County, City of Leavenworth, Icicle-Peshastin Irrigation District, Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, Colville Confederated Tribes and the Washington State Department of Ecology among others.

Our work has included facilitating Working Group sessions, technical evaluation of water resources across the subbasin, and field assessment of seven alpine dams. The last two years focused on leading the writing, review, and public presentation of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). The final PEIS, released in January 2019, describe a suite of recommendations including creek modifications for improved fish passage; residential conservation projects in the Leavenworth area; automating dam releases; restoring Eightmile Lake to historical and permitted high water storage elevation; and Leavenworth hatchery infrastructure upgrades.

Wenatchee 2050 Watershed Planning

Aspect is working for the Chelan County DNR to implement the next phase of watershed planning in the Wenatchee Basin. This project, funded through state and federal grants, includes planning, permitting, capital infrastructure development, and public outreach/facilitation/litigation support services to ensure sustainable water supply and water resources for future communities and habitat in the basin. We are performing water rights permitting, creating a water rights tracking system of permitted and exempt water rights in 11 subbasins, and coordinating watershed planning in the critical Icicle Creek subbasin to support future capital infrastructure development. We are providing hydrogeological, project management, and GIS services to support the multiple phases of this long-reaching project. 

WRIA 30 Multipurpose Water Storage Assessment: Little Klickitat River and Swale Creek

Like other parts of Washington State, water is not uniformly available throughout the year in the Klickitat River watershed (WRIA 30), which can create conflicts between water demands for fish versus people. Aspect completed the initial assessment of storage options for developing new agricultural and municipal water supplies within two priority subbasins of WRIA 30: Little Klickitat River and Swale Creek. We identified prospective storage options based on each subbasin’s physical characteristics, irrespective of water needs. From our assessment, the implementing agencies have initiated a more detailed feasibility study for one of the identified options, in-channel storage within Dry and Idlewild Creeks to achieve both instream and out-of-stream benefits, which Aspect is conducting.

WRIA 16 Hydrogeologic and Instream Flow Studies

Aspect performed four studies in WRIA 16/14B for the Planning Unit. The studies include a hydrogeologic investigation of the Dosewallips Brinnon area, an instream flow study, a hydrogeologic investigation at the Webb Hill biosolids facility, and a river/stream impairment analysis.  These projects used methods ranging from use of stable isotopes for hydrogeologic characterization to a development of a GIS database and tool that allows for future updates and use by project stakeholders.

WRIA 48 Water Right Transfer and Water Bank Planning

Aspect assisted the Methow Watershed Council’s implementation of 20 planning actions recommended in the WRIA 48 Watershed Plan. This work included developing guidance and approaches for: identifying local resources to provide information and education on water-right transfers, assisting in evaluating existing water rights, facilitating placement of existing water rights into the State's Trust Water Rights Program, and administering a local water bank using Trust Water Rights to provide mitigation of new uses in the basin.

WRIA 31 Watershed Assessment and Planning

Aspect assisted WRIA 31 Policy Advisory Group with each phase of watershed planning. We expedited Level 1 watershed assessment in 10 months so that Phase 3 tasks could proceed, including development of the Watershed Management Plan that focused on water availability and quality, and fish habitat. We developed applications for Ecology grants to initiate Level 2 water quality and water storage projects, including aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) using Columbia River water to meet peak municipal demands. In Phase 4 we identified a preferred water-storage alternative to increase water supplies in the Horse Heaven Hills area using surface and subsurface reservoirs, and assisted the county in obtaining grants to move the preferred alternative into an appraisal assessment.