Action Alert! Spokane River Whitewater Park

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Jerry White, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Hey folks,
    If you fish for (or care about) wild trout in the lower Spokane River, you should really comment on the proposed whitewater park in the Sandifur Bridge area of the lower Spokane River. We need voices for trout to be heard.

    Spokane Falls TU supports boating on the river, but is very concerned that AS IT'S CURRENTLY PLANNED, the project has not addressed all existing issues and that wild redband trout may suffer as a result.

    Please get your comments in to the city before June 26, 2009.
    See the second post (below) for details


  2. Protect the Spokane River & wild redband trout!

    The Spokane River’s wild redband trout are indicators of ecosystem health and important to our river. They deserve our attention and protection.

    The City of Spokane has proposed placing a massive concrete and rock structure into the riverbed near Sandifur Bridge as a feature for a whitewater park to provide play-boating for kayaks. Spokane Falls Trout Unlimited (SFTU) supports safe, healthy recreation on the lower Spokane River. However, SFTU is concerned that this project may damage a vulnerable population of wild trout that is already affected by water flows, pollution, poaching and other impacts.

    We share the concerns raised by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and others that the whitewater park proposal poses threats to wild fish. The ability of fish to travel through the feature at all flow levels is a major concern, particularly with important spawning habitat directly upstream from the park site. Direct impacts to spawning beds near the park site are also a concern.

    We can’t endorse the project as currently envisioned and urge others who care about the river and its fisheries to express concerns during the State Environmental Policy Act (SEAPA) comment period. Please make your voice heard on an issue that may have a lasting impact on populations of wild trout in the lower Spokane River.

    TAKE ACTION NOW! Written Comments are due June 26, 2009!

    Please send comments to the City of Spokane and share your concerns. Please oppose the construction of the park unless the following conditions are met:

    1. Constructed whitewater park features must be shown to provide fish passage at every flow level;
    2. It must have no impacts on current spawning habitat;
    3. The feature must be built in a completely dewatered construction zone to prevent pollutants from entering the river during construction;
    4. Long term liability and maintenance responsibilities—including financial costs-- must be clearly defined;
    5. Long-term studies must be required to monitor negative impacts on fish and the health of the river;
    6. If these conditions cannot be met, the whitewater park should not be built under the current design and/or in the proposed location.

    Written comments should be mailed, delivered or emailed to Tami Palmquist, Planning Services Department, 808 West Spokane Falls Boulevard, Spokane, WA 99201,

    Application status and additional information and documentation can be viewed on-line at

    For more info contact SFTU President Harvey Morrison at
  3. Thanks for the scoop. I will put my $.02 in.

    All us "locals" need to have our voices heard.
  4. Right on. Thanks Stewart!:thumb:
  5. I don't know about the fish impact but I think it's a waste of dollars that cold be better spent somewhere else. Honestly this caters to a very small percentage of outdoorsman. I think our tax dollars should be spent to accomadate a wider range of people.
  6. Chad, SFTU doesn't have a position one way or the other with regards to your points, except indirectly.

    On balance, as I understand it, much of the money to finance the project as it stands comes from grants, but there are other costs that need to be accouted for that SFTU is concerned about.

    One is $$ for further science and studies as to the affect on redbands/river.

    Two is $$ for maintenance. Apparently, the city does not want to own the responsibility of maintaining the structure as this would be tax $$ from budgets already stretched thin (in which case your point is well taken).

    Regardless of SFTUs position/concerns about the project, the city of Spokane needs to hear your comments... send them in.
  7. Jerry,

    I don't think that in depth you know, I just look at what's being spent and think about what most people in the city could use.

  8. Exactly... it's a stupid idea. It WILL harm the fish population, and it IS a waste of money. Spend the money on something better, and something that won't threaten the last of the wild redbands in the spokane river. :beathead:
  9. I did not think there were any redbands below the lower dams.
    This water park has not been proven that it will harm any fish populations.

    My take on it so far is this:
    Kayak enthusiasts are river people they love the rivers. Getting them invloved in an activity that puts the Spokane river in the public eye is good. These boaters will be good for the river, they will promote clean water and good family fun. We need more people using the river for recreation not less. The more people that play in and on this river the better it will become. We need more access not less. I would like to see some boat launches added. Give people access to the river for rafts and driftboats. Change the rule that allows motors on the upper river. These are things that will help make this river the focus of the community not an afterthought.
    There are some unanswered questions for sure, but knowing some of the people that will be involved in this water park I am excited about sharing the river with them.
  10. Jesse,
    1. According to WDFW many, if not most of the trout in the lower Spokane are a variety of redband trout. There is some discussion as to whether they are natives or self reproducing wild trout. It is highly likely they are native, but even if they are "just" wild, that makes Spokane one of the few cities in the entire US with a population of wild trout living at its heart. They deserve protection.

    2. SFTU is excited to share the river too. We agree that boaters are usually great river advocates. No argument there.

    Personally, I would love drift boat access but only if there is a viable population of wild redbands to catch and release.

    3. "this water park has not been proven that it will harm any fish populations"

    Actually, the burden of proof is on those who would drop a concrete and rock structure into a public river.

    It is the City of Spokane that must prove that the imposition of their structure on our (my, your) river will not hurt (your, my, their) wild trout.

    Again... SFTU is not against this feature but against the plan to put this feature in the river before the proof of no harm is offered.

    There are numerous concerns with this project, but one of them is that no one can one can say one way or another if this is area is used by wild redbands to spawn. This is a very big deal.

    We are simply asking for the city to follow the correct protocol and study the issue appropriately and completely, address our concerns by proving to the public that their project will not, in fact, harm wild trout populations.

    We feel this is a reasonable and appropriate position and ask all anglers and trout advocates to join us protecting this very unique and wonderful asset to our community:thumb:.
  11. Well put Jerry. I ain't the most articulate bulb in the box, but I fired off an email to Ms. Palmquist.

    Jesse- I am not against the park either. I just don't want it to end up killing off the last decent native game species in that part to the river.
  12. Jerry
    Thanks for addressing my comments.
    STU and you are doing a great job of bringing this issue to the forefront.I want the best for the fish I hope the result will be good for the fish and the river.
  13. Jesse,
    Thank you for your words of support. Also, I know you are an avid river supporter and I thank you for that. :)

    Your points are well taken... getting people on the river is a good thing and we all need to help each other (boaters, fishermen, birdwatchers, etc.) look after the river, access and enjoy the river. My hope is that this project will ultimately be successful not by just going in but by going in with the studies and confidence that it won't harm trout and thereby be real asset to the community (or what Stewart said!)

    Stewart: thanks for commenting.
    Tight lines to you both!
  14. Spokane anglers,
    does everyone have their comments in to the city? Friday COB is the deadline.

    There should be a hearing on the matter so I'll keep you posted. I have attached SFTU's comments if you want more info.
    Thanks for advocating for redbands.

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