Ducks Unlimited and partners recently completed the Giffin Lake Project located at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Sunnyside-Snake River Wildlife Area in Yakima County. The installation of a new water control structure will immediately provide waterfowl in the area with high-quality migration habitats and offer the public recreational opportunities.
The Sunnyside Snake River Wildlife Area is located in South Central Washington and consists of 21,600 acres spread across Yakima, Franklin and Benton counties in 15 different units. Giffin Lake is critical as a source of water for other wetlands at the Sunnyside Unit, which are filled in the fall for waterfowl migration and hunting season. This unit lies mostly within the Yakima River floodplain, and as such, receives heavy use by waterfowl during migration and winter. Waterfowl hunting is popular in this area.
DU and the WDFW began the project with the goal of resolving the issue of sub-optimal water control at the lake, which had one undersized water control structure that had become non-functional with water leaking around it.
Despite challenges from a high-water table and sub-optimal construction conditions, DU and its partners managed to complete the replacement in time to ensure that WDFW could fill the affected wetlands for fall migration and before hunting season. The new structure will enable WDFW to manage water in the lake, and all other connected water bodies at this unit, a win-win for residents and the waterfowl that utilize Giffin Lake.