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FISHING — The Spokane River's struggling native redband trout are in the news for more reasons that one this week.
As stream flows hit their seasonal lows in the Spokane River, Avista Utilities begins a to-do list of work on their dams and on the bed of the river. Many of the jobs are part of their 50-year relicensing agreement compiled by several stakeholder groups, including Indian tribes and environmental groups. On Wednesday surveyors and environmental consultants planned and prepared for the construction of weirs to direct river flows in a more aesthetically pleasing way.
The project included netting trout stranded in the basalt pools of the dewatered falls and releasing them safely in the river.
The effort — and a glimpse at the size of redband trout living in the Spokane Falls area — are captured in a picture story by Spokesman-Review photographer Jesse Tinsley.
The other news story this week, detailed in my column today, is the legal challenge to the docks proposed on the river by the Coyote Rock development near Plantes Ferry Park.
Yesterday, I was at a meeting with folks who do emergency preparedness in the county and as part of the meeting, we were offered a tour of the Avista dams downtown.
The last spot on the tour was an outside viewing section for the lower falls. The Spokane River is pretty high and glorious right now and though I'd seen these lower falls before from this viewpoint, I decided to make the last stop, despite the hours of work awaiting me in the office.
I climbed down the steps to the viewpoint (you can get there through the City Hall parking lot) and it's stunning, like being in a science fiction movie, water crashing right next to you.
The reason I decided to see the river like this? Last week in an interview, Margo Long, head of the Gifted Education Center at Whitworth University said this:
When I talk to young mothers, I always remind them of one of my favorite bylaws: “Do now what you cannot do later.” It usually gives us perspective and puts our focus back on the children.
I'm going to adapt Margo's words to many decisions now, because as you age, it's good to ponder the things you might not be able to do later. I'll likely be able to make the short hike down to the lower falls for many years to come, but you never know. So I went. No regrets.
- Spokane Falls