• bible sitting next to a teapot

    Whitman Mission

    National Historic Site Washington

Water Enough For All

Park employee standing next to pump that will be installed in the stream bed.

This is the suction end of the pump shortly before it was installed in 2008. This device floats on top of the water. Screens prevent fish from being sucked into the system.

NPS photo

Because the Whitmans were the earliest agricultural users of water in the area, Whitman Mission National Historic Site, along with adjacent private property owners, holds primary water rights to the water in Doan Creek. But the water in the spring-fed creek is potentially over allocated. One major challenge of the Doan Creek Restoration Project is to ensure that all of the water rights holders in the area receive their allotment of flow even as the old Doan Creek channel is restored. The park staff and county water-master make sure a sufficient amount of water always flows through the irrigation ditch to accommodate the needs of surrounding farmers and to preserve the historical accuracy of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman’s irrigation channel.

In order to do more with the water available, in 2008, the park installed a pump which will "recycle" the water in Doan Creek. First water will flow through the new creek bed to the confluence with Mill Creek, providing habitat for fish and wildlife. Then this same water will be pumped uphill into a remaining section of the diverted Doan Creek irrigation ditch. From there flowing into the park's pond, then into the park's historic irrigation ditch, and then on to downstream users.

Did You Know?

Marcus Whitman statue near Whitman College

A statue is near the campus of Whitman College of Marcus Whitman. The inscription at the base says, 'MY PLANS REQUIRE TIME AND DISTANCE'.