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Icicle Creek Restoration

Background information for Icicle Creek Restoration

Icicle Creek - Washington's Wilderness Jewel


Icicle Creek starts high in the spectacular Stuart Range and Alpine Lakes Wilderness, ultimately joining the Wenatchee River near Leavenworth, Washington. It drains 216 square miles of alpine, forest, meadow, and scrub habitats, most of it National Forest land and much of that designated Wilderness.

What should be a high-altitude pristine refuge for native and migratory fish is instead an impaired ecosystem.  Icicle Creek carries a special burden. The Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery (LNFH) is located a few miles upstream from the mouth, and since 1940 it has been responsible for impacts to Icicle Creek that today are completely unacceptable. The Hatchery:

  • Operates three different dams that block wild salmon, trout, and char from miles of aquatic and riparian habitats in the upper Icicle basin
  • Diverts water from the stream into a "diversion canal" without a valid water right
  • Withdraws water through an unscreened intake, sucking fish into the facility
  • Pollutes Icicle Creek with water warmer than state standards and containing excess plant nutrients, causing additional downstream water quality problems.


The US Fish and Wildlife Service operates the LNFH with funding from the Bureau of Reclamation.  Built to “mitigate” the blockage caused by Grand Coulee Dam, the LNFH itself contributes to the same problem.

For nearly fifteen years, we have been working with the local community, urging the USFWS to make changes at LNFH that would contribute to the recovery of ESA-listed fish in Icicle Creek, and that would end violations of the ESA and Clean Water Act.

Icicle Creek Timeline 5

Icicle Creek & Wild Fish Conservancy - A Historical Timeline 1939-2012

Our advocacy efforts have opened the door to a research effort on Icicle Creek and we also work with local teachers on ecological education.  Read about Wild Fish Conservancy’s Icicle Creek Recolonization Study and our education efforts through the Icicle Creek Partnership.

Click here, for a detailed account of WFC’s work to restore Icicle Creek.

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