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The Methow River Basin, located in North Central Washington in Okanogan County, is well known for its natural beauty, wildlife, outdoor recreation, and rural lifestyle. The Methow River and its tributaries are home to upper Columbia summer steelhead and spring Chinook salmon, which are both listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and bull trout, which is listed as threatened. These fish species are important to Washington, both culturally and economically, and their survival depends on the quality and quantity of fish habitat. Thus, management of the water resources of the Methow River Basin is changing in response to the listing of these three species of fish.
The Methow River Basin also is currently one of many watersheds in Washington whose local citizens and governments have elected to coordinate with Tribes and State agencies to develop a watershed management plan, according to the guidelines outlined in the Watershed Management Act of 1998 (Washington State Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2514.)
The Water Resources Program of the U.S. Geological Survey in Tacoma, Washington, in cooperation with Okanogan County, Washington, is conducting studies to evaluate the surface water, ground water, ground-water and surface-water interactions, and water quality of the Methow River Basin.