Historically the dividing line between Okanogan County and Kittitas County, the river has been in the center of Chelan County since the county's formation around 1899. Water from the Wenatchee River and its tributaries has been diverted for irrigation since 1891, mainly for orchards. There are two small dams on the Wenatchee River, the Tumwater Canyon Dam, which sits just west of the community of Leavenworth, and the Dryden dam, a low-head dam situated just outside the town of Dryden. The Tumwater Canyon dam originally provided power to the original 2-mile (3.2 km)-long railroad tunnel used near Stevens Pass to get trains across the Cascade Mountains
Toxic chemicals banned decades ago in Washington continue to linger in the environment and concentrate in the food chain, threatening people and the environment, according to three recent studies by the Washington state Department of Ecology. In 2007, the Washington Department of Health advised the public to not eat mountain whitefish from the Wenatchee River from Leavenworth downstream to where the river joins the Columbia, due to unhealthy levels of PCBs
- Orchards, wilderness, a mountain town: Who gets the water?
- Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Finds “Biological Opinion” For Federal Hatchery “Arbitrary & Capricious”
- Leavenworth Hatchery Violating Clean Water Act