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Central Washington University

CWU researchers working to restore salmon runs in Ellensburg

The settlers who founded Ellensburg in the 1870s were likely drawn by the plentiful water in creeks crisscrossing the valley, but as the city expanded, it grew right over those streams.

Look at a Google map of downtown Ellensburg and you’ll see Wilson Creek wind across Main Street. Walk the block, however, and there’s no sign of flowing water.

The creek, one of many in the valley that once supported salmon, now flows in culverts below the streets for about half a mile. Several blocks to the northwest, Mercer Creek runs below a motel parking lot. Across town, the creek briefly surfaces and then runs back underground, looking on a map like scattered stitches on a quilt.

Read more of this story in the Yakima Herald Republic.

Story by Kate Prengaman, photo by Mason Trinca