Latest from The Spokesman-Review
The event is Thursday April 30 at the Garland Theater, 924 W. Garland Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m.; shows at 7.
Some of the films highlight rivers and environmental impacts involving energy development while a few shorts are geared to fun and entertainment.
“Silent River” is about the struggle of locals in Mexico to clean up the Santiago River.
“The Sacred Place Where Life Begins” documents the years-old fight of the Gwich'in People in Alaska over the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration.
Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Spokane Riverkeeper, a non-profit organization aiming to protect the river for fishing, swimming and other uses.
The organization is sponsored by the Center for Justice and boosted by local support from numerous groups, said Riverkeeper spokesman Jerry White. Gonzaga University Environmental Studies seniors are organizing the film festival as a senior project, he said.
Tickets: $12 in advance at eventbrite.com, $15 at the door.
The Eighth Annual Dirty Martinis for Clean Water Fundraising Event is on for Friday, September 12th. I think I'm safe in assuming you like your martinis dirty and your water clean so, yes, this event is for you.
There will be delicious food, drinks, live music, and an exciting silent auction to support Spokane Riverkeeper. Doors are open from 6:00pm to 11:00pm at The River Place, formerly the Masonic Temple.
Big news out of the Center for Justice as they have announced the hiring of the new Spokane Riverkeeper: Jerry White.
White will be replacing our dear friend Bart Mihailovich, who recently accepted a position with the International Waterkeeper Alliance.
Born in Corvallis, Oregon, near the Willamette River his family moved to Cheney, Washington where he grew up exploring the lakes, rivers and forests of the area. With a love for the outdoors, his passion for advocacy was born.
According to the Center, he has a long history of working to protect rivers in the Inland Northwest. He was a former staff member of Save our Wild Salmon and advocated for the restoration and protection of native Snake River salmon and steelhead. He also has worked for native trout as conservation chair and continues to volunteer for Spokane Falls Chapter of Trout Unlimited and is a boardmemeber Inland Northwest Nature Connection.
Bart Mihailovich - my dear friend and DTE co-founder - released a bittersweet message today. As proud as were are to have the Spokane River, I can't think of a better guardian of our watershed. It will be sad to see him go but congratulations are in order and he will be sticking around!
From the Riverkeeper: It's with a lot of emotion and great memories that I write to tell you that after four unforgettable years I am leaving my position serving as YOUR Spokane Riverkeeper to pursue a new endeavor with Waterkeeper Alliance.
Earlier this week I accepted an offer to join Waterkeeper Alliance as the new Affiliate Coordinator, which will have me working on a new initiative to increase the number of Waterkeepers worldwide. The new Waterkeeper Affiliate program is an audacious new drive to identify, recruit, train, and elevate leaders around the world to step up and become new Waterkeeper Affiliate programs in watersheds around the world that are in need of strong leaders to fight for clean water.
I am leaving this job, which from day one truly was and is a dream job, and I’m leaving on great terms with the incredible staff and board here at the Center for Justice. I was fortunate enough to come in to the Center during a transitional period, a period we called Center 2.0 and I’m leaving knowing that this organization which will celebrate its 15th anniversary this year will be around for another 50. I also came in to the Center to become the Spokane Riverkeeper during a very transitional time in this community and the way it viewed and understood the Spokane River and other water resources. I’ll have much more to say about this in future blog posts and a good-bye eNewsletter, but I can say without doubt that because of the great work of the Center and Spokane Riverkeeper and so many of our great partners and allies and all of you supporters, that the Spokane River is cleaner now than it was five years ago.
RIVERS — The Spokane Riverkeeper, which keeps a watchful eye on the health and other issues along Spokane's most precious resource, is planning a whitewater float trip that will leave participants smiling and raise a little money, too.
The Riverkeeper will join with ROW Adventures on June 26th at 4:30 p.m. for a fun and informative Happy Hour float down the river through Riverside State Park, the frothing Bowl and Pitcher rapids and the mischievous Devil's Toenail.
This trip costs $75, and ROW Adventures will be donating a major portion of the trip price back to Spokane Riverkeeper for its work for a Fishable and Swimmable Spokane River!
The fee includes a three hour trip and ALL equipment and transportation from the ROW Adventures office in downtown Spokane.
The plan calls for a short stop mid-way through the trip for some Happy Hour fun and to hear updates about the Riverkeeper program and Spokane River issues.
Seats on this trip are limited. Book spots here.
CONSERVATION — More that 100 volunteers turned out for the annual Spokane Riverkeeper Spring River Clean on April 12, with a big boost from students at Gonzaga University.
"It was our biggest and best clean up by far, we had a record number of partners on board to make it so, and above all we left a part of the Spokane River MUCH cleaner than we found it," said Riverkeeper Bart Mihailovich.
See a full report from the Riverkeeper.
Gonzaga's Environmental Law Caucus is hosting a presentation by Jason Gray about his experience working on Climate Change Policy in California. Jason Gray is a staff counsel at the California Resource Board. He is tasked with advising the Board and its staff on the development and implementation of air pollution control regulations and related matters.
The presentation will take place at the Gonzaga Law School this Friday and run from 12pm-1:30pm in room 143. (As the Spokane Riverkeeper noted, it will be over before the Gonzaga/OSU Game).
You may recall back in June, the suit filed against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) and several coal companies for violations of the federal Clean Water Act after evidence was collected that demonstrated the companies’ responsibility for emitting coal into waterways in several locations across Washington.
Well, the case reached an important milestone as the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington denied a motion to dismiss, allowing the Clean Water Act case to proceed. The Sierra Club, Puget Soundkeeper, Columbia Riverkeeper, Spokane Riverkeeper, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Friends of the Columbia Gorge, filed the lawsuit on July 24, 2013, after finding substantial amounts of coal in and along several Washington waterways near BNSF rail lines. A similar case is also pending before the Western District of Washington in Seattle.
From the Spokane Riverkeeper: According to sworn testimony by BNSF Vice President of Transportation, Gregory Fox, “BNSF estimates that up to 500 pounds of coal dust may be lost from the top of each car.” The company currently sends four uncovered coal trains through the state every day, each with an average of 120 rail cars. Based on the company’s figures, BNSF’s trains lose an estimated 240,000 pounds of coal dust along its route daily.
A group of community partners has set a day-long seminar to discuss green infrastructure, sustainable site design, and stormwater management. The seminar will be held on Thursday, Oct. 24, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Council Chambers in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.
The seminar organizing committee includes the Spokane Riverkeeper, AHBL, URS, Spokane River Forum, Spokane County Conservation District, Spokane County, the Spokane Parks & Recreation Department, community volunteers, and the City of Spokane.
Titled “Spokane: Green Solutions,” the seminar will include a talk by Kari Mackenbach, National Green Infrastructure Practice Leader at URS Corp.; a legal overview by Rick Eichstaedt, of the Center for Justice; a look at the City’s work to improve the health of the Spokane River, and several panel discussions with new ideas and practical tips. A virtual tour of green infrastructure already in place in the Spokane area also is planned.
The Seventh Annual Dirty Martinis for Clean Water Fundraising Event is on for Friday, September 13th. I think I'm safe in assuming you like your martinis dirty and your water clean so, yes, this event is for you.
This year the location is different, on the bank of the Spokane River at the Chateau Rive. Tickets are on sale now, for $35 ($40 at the door on the day of the event). Reminder: Last year's event sold out and they had to turn people away at the door, so reserve your spot today.
It's hard to believe but almost two years ago, our dear friend Michael Chappell passed away. An avid golfer, it makes sense we celebrate his life and keep his message and memory alive with a day on the greens, August 24th.
Two organizations will be honored that Mike was passionate about: The Spokane Riverkeeper, whom Mike represented while Director of the Gonzaga Environmental Law Clinic and The First Tee of the Inland Northwest who provide educational programs for kids which build character through the game of golf.
Not a golfer? No problem. This is a fun golf scramble (out of four shots, you always play from where the best shot lands) with some hole prizes and challenges. Younger golfers are encouraged. Sign up as foursome or individually – you just need one person who knows how to golf.
The cost of the golf tournament is $75 per person which includes; green fees, a shared golf cart, terrific t-prizes including a commemorative belt buckle, ball-markers, and a t-shirt, dinner and the reception.
How much fish do you eat? Let me give you a brief rundown of why I'm asking: Washington is still struggling to find an official fish-consumption rate to replace outdated numbers. Due to contaminated waters, fish can harbor toxics, like mercury, PCBs and dioxins. The real question should be how much of these chemicals are ingested by humans? Enter the fish consumption rate. If the number is high, those responsible will be on the hook for cleaning the waterways since people might be eating more fish than is safe.
Image courtesy of Waterplanet.
The Spokane Riverkeeper has joined forces with the Waterkeepers Washington, a coalition of statewide clean water advocates, to put the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on notice it could be sued under the federal Clean Water Act.
From the Riverkeeper: Studies across Washington State show high levels of toxic pollution in certain types of locally caught fish and shellfish. According to Waterkeepers Washington, EPA is violating its duty under federal law by failing to take action and protect public health.
The 60-day notice letter of intent to sue under the Clean Water Act targets the so-called “fish consumption” rate. Earlier this year, the fish consumption issue was at the heart of the near shutdown of state government when Boeing and other industries lobbied the state to add years of delay to new toxic pollution laws
According to the Waterkeeper groups, EPA is violating the law by allowing Washington’s Department of Ecology (Ecology) to grossly underestimate the state’s fish consumption rate, which is used to set water quality standards. The state of Washington incorrectly estimates its citizens have one of the lowest fish consumption rates in the nation. Consequently, water pollution limits are too high and fail to protect people who eat locally caught fish.
The City of Spokane is working on a proposed ordinance that would encourage property owners and developers to use low impact development to manage stormwater as part of their development or redevelopment projects.
Tomorrow at 3pm in the City Council Chamber in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., the Spokane Plan Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance.
Low impact development is an emerging practice that mimics nature’s management of stormwater. It emphasizes site conservation and uses natural landscaping features to filter and retain stormwater close to where it falls. The rain gardens on South Lincoln Street and the stormwater planters and pervious pavement on West Broadway Avenue are examples of low impact development.
“We are committed to improving the health of the Spokane River,” says Rick Romero, the City’s Division Director of Utilities. “Low impact development captures stormwater—which carries pollutants—and keeps it from flowing into the Spokane River.”
Big news on the coal train front from the Beyond Coal Exports campaign: Yesterday, the Sierra Club and its partners filed suit against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) and several coal companies for violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The Sierra Club, Puget Soundkeeper, Columbia Riverkeeper, RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, and Friends of the Columbia Gorge sent a 60 day notice in April after collecting evidence demonstrating the companies’ responsibility for emitting coal into waterways in several locations across Washington. Spokane Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently sent a notice letter for these violations as well.
“BNSF and the other coal shippers had two months to figure out a way to stop polluting our waterways and communities with coal dust but they chose to do nothing to find a solution,” said Cesia Kearns, Senior Campaign Representative of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Exports campaign. “After years of railroad and coal companies playing the coal dust blame game, the last two months proved we can only expect more of the same from these companies. ”
Columbia Riverkeeper, Spokane Riverkeeper and Sierra Club will host an evening discussion about Our Nuclear Neighbor: Hanford, connecting its historic downstream impacts, to the Columbia River, and downwind, to Spokane. The event will take place at Gonzaga University School of Law, Barbieri Moot Court Room at 6pm on May 8th.
Historically, Hanford discharged contaminated wastewater directly into the Columbia River, giving it the distinction as the most radioactive river in the United States. But, Hanford's pollution didn't just run downstream. Hanford also released radioactive contaminants such as iodine-131 and plutonium into the air. These pollutants blew north and east, coating Spokane.
The Columbia Riverkeeper, Spokane Riverkeeper, and Sierra Club are watchdog organizations, protecting our rivers from pollution. But, Hanford, the most contaminated site in the western hemisphere, presents a unique challenge. Twenty-five years into the cleanup, some of the most difficult and dangerous cleanup projects remain.
Our dear friend Bart Mihailovich, the Spokane Riverkeeper, calls it a branding problem. He says the waterfall graphic at the end of their logo was only recognizable in large applications and did not reproduce well in a smaller scale. It wasn't the only reason: "But more than that, the Riverkeeper program was looking for a new, fresh logo to propel them to a new era of working to protect the Spokane River," he says.
Bart got help from Thinking Cap, a local advertising and graphic design company that had designed the Riverkeeper Brochure. Thinking Cap created the logo together pro-bono through their graphic design internship program. Two Eastern Washington University Visual Communication Majors had the opportunity to work on the logo during consecutive quarters. I think it turned out great and you can check it out after the jump!
You say it's World Water Day? Well, happy World Water Day to you! Annually held on March 22nd, this year’s World Water Day has been dedicated to the theme of “cooperation.” The global population is over 7 billion and the demand for fresh water continues to grow as world leaders unite for greater innovation, advocacy and solutions. Watch UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's video message for World Water Day HERE.
Locally, you can get involved with the Spokane Riverkeeper by celebrating World Water Day and an early kick off for Earth Month (all of April). The Spokane Riverkeeper has partnered with Jefferson Montessori to host an art open house and reception in the Community Building Lobby, 25 W. Main Ave, from 5-7pm today. Come enjoy an art gallery open house of clean-water themed art, poetry and photography created by 4th, 5th and 6th graders. The Riverkeeper will be offering beer, wine,other drinks, snacks and light music. The event is free and open to the public
The Spokane River Forum, Spokane Riverkeeper, the City of Spokane and Gonzaga Environmental Law Clinic have all collaborated to create Spokane’s first definitive stormwater permitting guide. It's called Understanding Stormwater Permitting in the City of Spokane and it's a must-read for anybody who wants to learn more about dealing with the greatest soruce of pollution in the Spokane River.
Right now, a third of stormwater is left untreated, washing contaminates into the river. “In the past, we kept hearing from builders that it was just too complicated, that the information was too spread out," Bart Mihalovich, the Spokane Riverkeeper, told River Forum. "Now there’s no excuse; everything is in one place.”
The project was funded from the 2011 settlement between the City of Spokane and Spokane Riverkeeper regarding PCB discharges into the Spokane River.
Check it out HERE.
The Spokane Riverkeeper is making it known that his boat is looking for a home.
Here's what he had to say: The Spokane Riverkeeper raft (and trailer), inflatable kayak and canoe are soon to be homeless. Do you know of some downtown space that we could securely store our fleet? We have been storing it on Main St. for four years but because of some business shuffling, we need a new home. Whether just temporary for now or a permanent solution, we need to figure something out soon. Ideally the location would be relatively close to downtown, secure, covered, and accessible nearly 24/7. Do you or someone you know have extra space that you'd like to donate to a worthy cause? Please let us know if you have ideas or solutions. Email Riverkeeper Bart: email@example.com OR call 509.835.5211. Thanks!
Of course, Bart himself is sold seperately and well homed.
Let it also be known, I'm giving Spokane a one week challenge before I put it in Le Garage.
Please deliver Spokane.
Interesting news from the Spokane River Forum, in case you didn't know: Last April, voters approved the Public Facilities District’s $65 million dollar project that includes developing 91,000 square feet of new space at the Spokane Convention Center. River access is part of the plan.
At their December 12th public meeting, questions and comments were taken as part of applying for a Shoreline Substantial Development Permit. Planned actions include demolishing the former Shenanigan’s restaurant and removing the parking lot; shoreline improvements, Centennial Trail improvements, and development of a river access beneath the Division Street Bridge. Click here to see renderings.
Avista, Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club, Futurewise, Spokane Riverkeeper, Spokane River Forum and Northwest Whitewater Association have provided comment letters to the Public Facilities District. “In general, everyone is excited about the project and the opportunities that it will bring to Spokane visitors and Riverfront Park users,” said Andy Dunau, the Forum’s Executive Director. “But the devil is in the details.” Click here to read the letters.
User groups are concerned about public access, particularly the loss of parking and a loading/unloading area to access the Centennial Trail and prospective river access. Other concerns include desires for a public restroom, public drinking fountain, opportunities for food and recreation concessions, and on-going trail maintenance, especially in the winter when it will be further shaded from the sun.
Our friend Bart Mihailovich, The Spokane Riverkeeper, sat down with journalist extraordinaire Tim Connor to talk about how the election left him hopeful about the future of environmental protection and to discuss the battle over massive coal exports in Washington.
From the Center For Justice: In a November 28th conversation with Tim Connor, Spokane Riverkeeper Bart Mihailovich explains why he’s hopeful in the wake of a sharply contested election. Among the other topics covered in this 18 minute interview is the resilience and continuing importance of the Federal Clear Water Act, how the nation’s eyes are on Washington and Spokane in the national and international battle over the use of coal as an energy source and export material, and how twitter and a radio producer’s interest in the Spokane Riverkeeper’s work on a toxic water pollutant landed Bart on a nationally syndicated radio show earlier this month.
Listen to their podcast HERE.
ENVIRONMENT — Local experts will discuss "The Clean Water Act at 40" and its implications to the Spokane River in a public panel discussion Wednesday (Nov. 7), 6 p.m. at The Community Buildling, 35 W. Main St.
"In October of 1972 Congress signed in to law a historic piece of legislation that to this day continues to help clean up and protect the Spokane River," says Spokane RiverKeeper Bart Mihailovich, sponsor of the event.
The discussion and public Q&A opportunities will be moderated by Rick Eichstaedt, executive director of the Center for Justice and a Clean Water Act expert.
Read on for details about the local panelists — and the REFRESHMENTS that will be available.
Another Green Monday: Clean Water Act at 40 discussion will focus on the Spokane River this Wednesday
Last month, we celebrated the fortieth birthday of the Clean Water Act but the party continues.
This Wednesday, November 7th, the Spokane Riverkeeper is hosting a panel discussion to both celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and to look ahead at the local impacts of the law. The event goes from 5:30-7:30pm at the Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main Ave. More details on this free event HERE including some gifts.
Why do we love the Clean Water Act? Enacted after states wrestled with solutions to polluted waterways, the law brought on a federal safety net for water quality that guaranteed a minimum level of protection to all Americans, no matter where you lived - and it has worked.
From the Spokane Riverkeeper: In October of 1972 Congress signed in to law a historic piece of legislation that to this day continues to help clean up and protect the Spokane River. To honor the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Spokane Riverkeeper is proud to present “Clean Water Act at 40: a Spokane River focused panel discussion”.
This panel event will be moderated by Rick Eichstaedt, the Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Clean Water Act expert and will feature three panelists who will touch upon different areas that the Clean Water Act set out to address – a Fishable, Swimmable and Drinkable Spokane River.
You're 40! Happy Birthday to one of our most important environmental laws. The Clean Water Act, enacted after states wrestled with solutions to polluted waterways, brought on a federal safety net for water quality that guaranteed a minimum level of protection to all Americans, no matter where you lived - and it has worked.
Tonight is a very special Green Drinks honoring Mike Chappell and celebrating the causes he pledged his life to. Chappell founded the Gonzaga Environmental Law Clinic in 2009 and partnered with the Spokane Riverkeeper to use the law to protect our waterways.
The location is on The Roof of Cornerbooth Media at 122 South Monroe. To find The Roof, enter at the doorway on Monroe and head up the stairs, through Cornerbooth on the left, and then up more stairs. Unfortunately, this location does not have an elevator. Organizers say "there will be signs directing to keep you from getting lost and winding up in someones prop closet."
The Sixth Annual Dirty Martinis for Clean Water Fundraising Event is on for September 21st. I think I'm safe in assuming you like your martinis dirty and your water clean so, yes, this event is for you.
(Props to Ginny Baxter for the rad Dirty Martini design.)
Similar to last year, the party will be at the Falls Room of the Masonic Center and, honestly, it keeps getting better each year and the view of the Spokane River from the Falls Room is simply stunning. Enjoy martinis and drink specials courtesy of the one-and-only, local and award-winning Dry Fly Distillery, beer from No-Li, light food by Ferrante’s Marketplace Cafe, live music by Pink Tango, a diverse selection of art for sale and a can't miss selection of unique and popular silent-auction items.
Our friends at the Spokane Riverkeeper have partnered with Groupon Grassroots, the philanthropic arm of Groupon, for a local campaign to fund water quality monitoring efforts on Hangman Creek and the Spokane River; monitoring that will help assist a larger watershed restoration effort being undertaken by Riverkeeper and other local organizations.
Spokane Riverkeeper, Regional Health District, County Sheriff and local businesses work together to promote Spokane River safety
From the Spokane Riverkeeper, Spokane Regional Health District, and County Sheriff's office: As recent news reports make clear, swimming and floating in open waters, especially on the Spokane River at higher stream flows, can be hazardous, especially for inexperienced swimmers who don’t use life jackets.
Several local organizations and businesses are joining efforts this week with a common safety message—preventing future drownings is as simple as residents putting on their life jackets. It is a precaution that is as easy as buckling a seat belt while in a vehicle.
Spokane Riverkeeper, part of a network of 200 water protection groups worldwide, is emphasizing this message as part of Swimmable Action Day this Thur., July 26. In addition to recognizing the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the day is also meant to encourage citizens to safely celebrate access to clean, swimmable waters locally.
The Spokane River is a great resource and an ideal way to not only cool off in the summer, but to enjoy nature. When residents do not take every precaution to remain safe while enjoying the river though, it detracts from its swimmable qualities. That’s why Spokane Riverkeeper and the General Store, a Spokane institution, want to make sure people are being as safe on the river as possible. For one day only, on July 26, residents can visit the General Store, 2424 North Division, and receive 40 percent off all life jackets in stock.
How much fish do you eat?
Let me give you a brief rundown of why I'm asking: Washington is trying to find an official fish-consumption rate to replace outdated numbers. Due to contaminated waters, fish can harbor toxics, like mercury, PCBs and dioxins. The real question should be how much of these chemicals are ingested by humans? Enter the fish consumption rate. If the number is high, those responsible will be on the hook for cleaning the waterways since people might be eating more fish than is safe.
There was a negative editorial in the Spokesman last weekend about how this "rule-making" keeps bureaucracts bellies full so as a response, I wanted to share an excerpt from our Spokane Riverkeeper's story about the fish consumption rate in the Huffington Post:
Washington State may be called the Evergreen State, but the state's rich heritage of fish and shellfish is critical to our economy, culture and health. From tribal subsistence fishing in Eastern Washington to a thriving shellfish industry in Puget Sound; from sport fishing on the mighty Columbia River, to legendary steelhead trout of the Olympic Peninsula, fish and those who thrive on them are as much a part of Washington as all our fir trees and glaciers combined.
This is a belated post but the Spokane Riverkeeper put together a nice collection of interviews with people in Spokane telling their clean water stories at Earth Day 2012. It's all part of the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Spokane Riverkeeper's year long Defending Clean Water Campaign.
Check it out.