Friends of Toppenish Creek

Our Mission



Friends of Toppenish Creek is dedicated to protecting the rights of rural communities and improving oversight of industrial agriculture. FOTC operates under the simple principle that all people deserve clean air, clean water and protection from abuse that results when profit is favored over people. FOTC works through public education, citizen investigations, research, legislation, special events, and direct action.






Friends of Toppenish Creek does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in its programs or activities.

Press Release: Large CAFOs with Manure Lagoons Pollute


Today (October 26, 2022), a nationwide coalition of 51 citizens’ groups and community advocacy, environmental justice, and environmental advocacy organizations, together representing tens of millions of people, in partnership with Earthjustice, petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve its oversight of water pollution from industrial-scale concentrated animal feeding operations, commonly known as Large CAFOs.  The petitioning groups argue that improved oversight of Large CAFOs is necessary to satisfy the federal Clean Water Act and executive orders intended to advance environmental justice.


Press Release


Equal Pay For Equal Work? Not At The YRCAA

     The Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency (YRCAA) has hired a company called Compensation Connections to review compensation for staff and make recommendations. The goal, according to the YRCAA Board of Directors, was to bring pay more in line with pay for other agencies and private enterprise. 
     Compensation Connections presented their report at the YRCAA board meeting on October 10. The consultants proposed a revision of the YRCAA pay grades as shown below:

     Under the proposed grading system the women who work at YRCAA are classified at the lowest pay grade, despite the significant responsibilities associated with their jobs. 

      YRCAA's new Executive Director, Marc Thornsbury, has promised to review Compensation Connection's recommendations and report back to the board at their November meeting. 

Additional Information:

Public Testimony

YRCAA October 2022 Board Packet

YRCAA Administrative Code Part B

Letter to the YRCAA Board of Directors 



Lower Yakima Valley Dairies produce so much Methane that they can sell it as natural gas

Impact of Digesters that Produce Natural Gas from Cow Manure

Investment groups see an opportunity to capitalize on Washington’s recently adopted Climate Commitment Act (CCA) Cap and Invest Program by building Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) facilities in the Lower Yakima Valley (LYV) that would refine methane from cow manure into natural gas that could be pumped into the nearby Northwest Pipeline.

Friends of Toppenish Creek (FOTC) has studied reporting protocols to learn how much methane is emitted in the LYV from concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) dairies, how much can be captured, and how much will still be emitted into the atmosphere if RNG projects are approved. According to FOTC calculations methane emissions from animal agriculture in the LYV are over 29,000 metric tons per year or about 0.737 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2 equivalents per year. Manure digestion also converts nitrogen in the manure to ammonia, an additional, undesirable byproduct.

Methane is created when manure is stored under anaerobic conditions in large manure lagoons. An alternative solution to the methane problem is not to create it in the first place by moving dairies toward dry manure management systems that do not involve lagoon storage. 

Recent legislation requires WA agencies to engage overburdened communities such as the LYV when the agencies address sources of pollution. This is a challenge because people in overburdened communities such as the LYV often have limited education and limited English proficiency. The WA State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) also requires community participation in regulatory decision making. FOTC submits that early discussion of the potential impacts at the local level, along with careful implementation of the SEPA are the best ways to ensure thoughtful permitting and policy making with respect to RNG.

To learn more read this statement from Friends of Toppenish Creek.


See Page 11, U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Plan at



What Did the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area Accomplish?

   As of October 2022, the Lower Yakima Valley Groundwater Management Area (LYV GWMA) Implementation Team has held seven meetings, purchased a geoprobe for the South Yakima Conservation District, and arranged for bottled water delivery to 75 homes. 

      FOTC has submitted public records requests for meeting summaries for the LYV GWMA Implementation Team. The responses indicate that the implementation team has met on:

Lower Yakima Valley Monitoring Wells – 2021 to 2022


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Summer 2021

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Fall 2021

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Winter 2022

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