Province Summary


Walla Walla Subbasin Summary

The Walla Walla Subbasin encompasses 1,758 square miles located in Walla Walla and Columbia Counties in southeast Washington State and Umatilla County in northeast Oregon State. Primary waterbodies include the Walla Walla River and Touchet River, both of which originate in the Blue Mountains. The Touchet River is a tributary to the Walla Walla, which is a direct tributary to the Columbia River. Melting snow from the Blue Mountains provides much of the annual runoff to the streams and rivers in the subbasin; the water level in many streams diminishes greatly during the summer months. Vegetation in the subbasin is characterized by grassland, shrubsteppe, and agricultural lands at lower elevations and evergreen forests at higher elevations.

With dryland agriculture throughout the subbasin and intensive irrigated cropland in the Walla Walla River valley, the Walla Walla Subbasin is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. Timber harvest and urban land uses are also influential. Approximately 90 percent of the subbasin is privately owned, with 9 percent managed by federal/state agencies. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation also owns approximately 8,700 acres within the subbasin.

Source: Walla Walla Subbasin Plan

Status and Trends of Focal Species in Walla Walla Subbasin
 
Species ESU MPG Population Biological Objective (s) Biological Status Federal Status Data / Charts
Spring Chinook Middle Columbia      Subbasin Plan Objective :
3,000 natural adults and 2,500 hatchery adults (ODFW and CTUIR objective only)322
 
Not Listed Status & Trends
Summer Steelhead Middle Columbia  Umatilla/Walla Walla Rivers  Walla Walla, Touchet  Subbasin Plan Objective :
4,600 - 5,600 total returns: 3,000 natural and 1,600 - 2,600 hatchery (CTUIR objectiver only)321
Recovery Plan Criteria :
1,000 natural adults for at least one population, the other must be maintained
 
NOSA Estimate
Walla Walla River
2014: 434 spawners 474

Touchet River
2016: 179 spawners 474

Redd Counts (mixed)
2015: 353 redds (mixed) 225
Juvenile Outmigrants
2016: 31,820 juveniles474
Threatened Status & Trends
Bull Trout Walla Walla River(Within Umatilla-Walla Walla Recovery Unit)    Upper Walla Walla, Mill Creek, Touchet River  Draft Recovery Plan Criteria :
3,000-5,000 adults distributed among three or more local populations321
 
Redd Count
2014: 41 redds507
Threatened Status & Trends
    
View abundance data for Walla Walla Subbasin
 
Hatcheries located in Walla Walla Subbasin
**Hatchery data will be updated in 2016**

Hatchery / Acclimation Pond Hatchery Info Releases / Returns Program Reviews(APRE / HSRG / HGMP / USFWS) Map
South Fork Walla Walla View   View  
 
Hatchery Releases and Returns to Walla Walla Subbasin363
**Hatchery data will be updated in 2016**

Some releases into subbasins may be from hatcheries located in other provinces and subbasins. Hatchery releases of anadromous fish, within the geographic range of an ESU/DPS, are listed accordingly.
 
Hatchery / Acclimation Pond Species ESU/DPS Released in 2009 Returns to Collection Facility in 2009 Data as of
Carson National Fish Hatchery Spring Chinook 248,380 8 / 30 / 2010
Lyons Ferry Hatchery Rainbow Trout 25,895 8 / 30 / 2010
Summer Steelhead Middle Columbia River Steelhead DPS 108,951 8 / 30 / 2010
Trout Lodge Commercial Rainbow Trout 344 8 / 30 / 2010
Tucannon Hatchery Rainbow Trout 43,807 8 / 30 / 2010
Recovery Status for ESA-Listed Salmon and Steelhead in the Walla Walla Subbasin376

Updated : 5/27/2010

Species Population Abundance Threshold Mean Abundance Major Spawning Area Growth Rate Recruits / Spawners Current Viability
Steelhead Walla Walla River 1,000 650 2 of 3 Unknown 1.34 (1993-2000) Moderate
  Touchet River 1,000 Unknown 2 of 2 Unknown Unknown Low
Limiting Factors in the Walla Walla Subbasin 376, 394, 396

BULL TROUT
Key Limiting Factor Impairment Habitat Affected Threat Type Threat Name Life Stage(s) Description
Food Competition -- Fisheries Management; Species Management Species Introduction; Interspecific Interaction Juveniles, adults Bull trout compete for food and space with nonnative rainbow trout and brown trout.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability Freshwater-Instream Agricultural Practices; Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Juveniles, adults Numerous dams and diversion structures have been constructed on the mainstem Walla Walla River and in tributaries.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Instream Agricultural Practices; Forest Management Riparian Degradation; Bank Destabilization Juveniles, adults Channel confinement and riparian function, along with lack of large woody debris, have the greatest impact on bull trout throughout the subbasin.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Riparian Agricultural Practices Riparian Degradation Juveniles, adults Channel confinement and riparian function, along with lack of large woody debris, have the greatest impact on bull trout throughout the subbasin.
Water Quality Temperature; Oxygen -- Agricultural Practices; Forest Management Riparian Degradation All Mill Creek, South Fork, and North Fork do not meet state criteria for temperature. Phosphates are elevated in the South Fork.
Water Quantity Decreased Water Quantity -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Water: Storage or Withdrawal All The North Fork does not meet state criteria for instream flow.
SPRING CHINOOK
Key Limiting Factor Impairment Habitat Affected Threat Type Threat Name Life Stage(s) Description
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability Freshwater-Instream Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Adults The Siphon diversion and Hofer Dam partially block passage in the Touchet River. Numerous obstructions, including a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project, and Yellowhawk and Bennington diversions impede passage in the Mill Creek watershed.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability; Morphological Changes Estuary Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Filling; Riparian Degradation; Wetland Loss Smolts Historical complex habitats have been modified through channelization, diking, development and other practices.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Morphological Changes Freshwater-Floodplain Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Impervious Surfaces (Road Density); Riparian Degradation; Wetland Loss Juveniles Floodplains in the subbasin have been extensively altered by agriculture, livestock grazing, and transportation corridors.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Instream Agricultural Practices Diking; Filling; Wood/Structure Removal Juveniles Reduced habitat quantity in the lower mainstem impacts migrating adult Chinook and downstream migrants.
Instantaneous Mortality Anthropogenic Mortality -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Juveniles Juveniles and adults must pass four mainstem dams during migration.
Water Quality Temperature -- Agricultural Practices Riparian Degradation All High summer temperatures cause losses to spawning and pre-spawning spring Chinook in the mainstem above the Touchet River.
Water Quantity Decreased Water Quantity -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management; Agricultural Practices Water: Storage or Withdrawal All Reduced low flows cause losses to prespawn spring Chinook in Mill Creek.
SUMMER STEELHEAD
Key Limiting Factor Impairment Habitat Affected Threat Type Threat Name Life Stage(s) Description
Biological Viability Criteria Diversity -- Artificial Propogation Straying Adult spawners Out-of-basin stray steelhead spawning with indigenous populations pose serious genetic risks.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability Freshwater-Instream Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Adults The Siphon diversion and Hofer Dam partially block passage in the Touchet River. Numerous obstructions, including a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project, and Yellowhawk and Bennington diversions impede passage in the Mill Creek watershed.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Access and Availability; Morphological Changes Estuary Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Filling; Riparian Degradation; Wetland Loss Smolts Historical complex habitats have been modified through channelization, diking, development and other practices.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Morphological Changes Freshwater-Floodplain Agricultural Practices; Urbanization Diking; Impervious Surfaces (Road Density); Riparian Degradation; Wetland Loss Juveniles Floodplains in the subbasin have been extensively altered by agriculture, livestock grazing, and transportation corridors.
Habitat Quantity and Quality Small-Scale Structural Complexity; Morphological Changes Freshwater-Instream Agricultural Practices Diking; Filling; Wood/Structure Removal Juveniles Reduced habitat quantity in the lower mainstem impacts migrating adult steelhead and larger downstream migrants. Lack of habitat diversity results in high losses of steelhead fry in the South Fork.
Instantaneous Mortality Anthropogenic Mortality -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management Migration Impediments Juveniles Juveniles and adults must pass four mainstem dams during migration.
Sediment Conditions Increased Sediment Quantity Freshwater-Instream Agricultural Practices; Forest Management Sediment: Bank Destabilization; Sediment: Upland Disturbance All Sediment load impacts most life stages of steelhead in the mainstem from the mouth to Dry Creek, and in the lower Touchet River. Sediment also affects most life stages of steelhead in Pine Creek.
Water Quality Temperature -- Agricultural Practices Riparian Degradation All High summer temperatures cause losses to most life stages of steelhead in the Touchet River. High temperatures also impede fry colonization and juvenile rearing for steelhead in Mill Creek.
Water Quantity Increased Water Quantity -- Dam or Hydropower Facility Management; Agricultural Practices Water: Runoff Coefficient Alteration. Eggs, juveniles Increased peak flows impact steelhead fry in the South Fork.