Bumping Lake Timeline

The current Bumping “Lake” is a small BuRec reservoir (33,700 acre-feet) formed by a small dam at the site of a formerly existing natural glacial lake.  It is located just southwest of Goose Prairie on the Bumping River.

1945 - The BuRec supplies water from existing Yakima River Basin reservoirs subject to the water rights of the various districts established in a Consent Decree entered on January 31, 1945, in Kittitas Reclamation District v. Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District (Eastern District of Washington, Southern Division, Civil Action No. 21) (Appendix Document 1, Ct. Rec. 22).*

1966 -  BuRec and USF&WS prepare a Bumping Lake Enlargement Joint Feasibility Report.

1977-  Yakima River Basin experiences a drought.*

1979 - The Secretary of Interior approves a revised feasibility report.

1979 - Bills were introduced in Congress in 1979 to authorize construction of the Bumping Lake enlargement, but due to strong conservation and environmental opposition, including opposition by former US Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Congress did not pass a Bumping Lake enlargement bill.  Rather, Congress passed the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project (YRBWEP) in December of 1979, to look first at water conservation and fish passage issues.  This was another drought year.

1982 - The BuRec issues a Phase I report in August 1982 recommending early implementation of fish passage measures.

1984 - Congress passes the Washington Wilderness Act.  Despite attempts to include ancient forest roadless acreage with spotted owl habitat around the existing Bumping Lake to the new Cougar Lakes Wilderness Area (later the William O. Douglas Wilderness Area) this acreage was left out of the Wilderness designation in order to accommodate a potential new Bumping dam with storage of over 400,000 acre feet.   

1985 - The BuRec issues a Phase II status report focusing on issues including water-banking, potential storage site, and water conservation measures.  Unfortunately, these measures were voluntary and little progress was made. 

1987-1988  Two more drought years.

1992-1994  More drought years.

1994 - To help carry out the recommendations in the Phase II report, Congress passed P.L. 103-424, Title XII to promote water conservation.

1998 - The BuRec issues a draft Programmatic EIS on Phase II.   

2003 - Congress passes the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2003, Public Law 108–7, which authorizes new dam studies in the Yakima River Basin.

2006 - At Governor Gregoire request, the Washington Legislature passes a massive new Columbia River Basin Program to promote and study new irrigation dams in eastern Washington.

2008 -  BuRec and Department of Ecology release a final feasibility report and EIS on new dams in the Yakima Basin.  The report and FEIS concludes that a new Black Rock dam project and two Wymer Dam alternatives did not have a favorable benefit/cost ratio.  Because of past problems with a Bumping Lake enlargement, this alternative was not included in the study.

2009 - Ecology prepares its own state study and EIS on a Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resoruce Management Alternative, which include a new Bumping Lake dam and a Wymer Dam.

2009 - BuRec and Ecology establish a Yakima River Basin "Workgroup" to further develop and support the alternative promoted by Ecology in its FEIS

2009 -  Workgroup agrees an a draft "integrated plan" including a new Bumping Lake dam, a Wymer Dam, and a study of water pumping from the Columbia River 

2010 - Workgroup agrees an a statement of support for the "integrated plan."  In October, the Workgroup is presented with a memorandum outlining a proposed schedule for carrying out the actions listed in the plan.

2011 - Workgroup adds a "land element" to the "integrated plan."   In October, the Workgroup agrees to a $20 million early action plan to begin implementation of the "integrated plan.  In November 2011, the Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Ecology issue a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (DPEIS).

2012 -  On January 3rd, comments on the DPEIS closes.  On January 4th, the Yakima Workgroup Watershed Lands Conservation Subcommittee release a proposal for two new National Recreation Areas in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest with 41,000 acres of dedicated off-road vehicle (ORV) use.

2012 - On February 22nd, Bureau of Reclamation signs notice of availability of the Final PEIS.  The Final EIS incorporated the January 4, 2012 NRA Proposal that was not in the Draft EIS, as a result of which the public was denied the opportunity to comment on the NRA Proposal before it was incorporated into the Final EIS.

* Under the 1945 Federal Court Consent Decree, irrigation districts with senior (non-prorateable) water rights (primarily the Sunnyside Irrigation District with 2/3 non-proratable rights and the Yakima-Tieton Irrigation District) get 100% of their water allotment for the senior rights.  During a drought, junior water right districts (including the Kitittas Reclamation District and Roza Irrigation District) get whatever is left over.  Other districts such as the Wapato Irrigation Project within the Yakama Nation hold rights that are fifty percent proratable and fifty percent non-proratable.    

Yakima River

   Washington State Chapter