Work continues on the Nelson Dam removal and replacement project and will result in temporary road closures over the next couple of weeks.
Work scheduled to continue next week includes pouring concrete for a new fish screen structure. The work requires temporary closure of South Naches Road at Powerhouse Road on Thursday, May 19th. This closure will start at 6:00 am and end by 5:00 pm that day.
As always, the schedule for this type of project is subject to change daily dependent on weather, equipment failure, and emergencies.
Nelson Dam, on the Naches tributary of the Yakima River, was built in the 1920s to divert irrigation water for Yakima and the Naches-Cowiche Irrigation Association. The original design did not allow any fish passage.
The dam has held back tons of sediment and silt over the years, raising the river bed and causing the Naches River to overflow its banks and pour into the surrounding community during even minor flooding.
The Nelson Dam removal and replacement project will improve fish passage and sediment continuity to improve habitat, increase flow conveyance to decrease flooding risks for nearby landowners, and improve water supply reliability.
The City of Yakima and Yakima County have been collaborating on the design and implementation of the project for more than a decade. The dam removal and related work is one of several major public works projects initiated by the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan.
The City of Yakima plans to invest $10.8 million in the $26 million, multi-agency collaboration over the next four to five years. To help pay for the project, the City of Yakima received $4.4 million from Washington State’s Floodplain by Design program, $4.134 million from Washington State’s Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board, and $1.325 million from the state’s Capital Budget.
For more about the project, contact City of Yakima Assistant Public Works Director David Brown at 509-575-6154 or David.Brown@yakimawa.gov.