The 2010 Spokane River Forum Conference was held last week at the Centerplace Regional Events Center in the Spokane Valley. Issues discussed at this year's event included assessing and meeting water supply needs, developing a comprehensive aquifer management plan, implementing Avista's dam license, Lake Coeur d'Alene management, TMDL's, municipal discharge issues, mitigation measures, and much more. The Spokane River Forum Conference is a great opportunity for people to learn who is doing what, to meet those people, and to get a better understanding of the complexity and diversity of our one river that flows between two states.
Speakers at the event included Spokane Riverkeeper Rick Eichstaedt, Kate Wilson of the Lakes Commission, Mike Chappell, director of the Gonzaga's Environmental Law Clinic, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner, Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin, Spokane County Commissioner Bonnie Mager, Spokane Tribal Council Member Harry Sladich, and representatives from Department of Ecology, the Environmental Protection Agency, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the City of Spokane, Spokane County, Spokane Tribe of Indians and much more.
We were unable to attend this year, but two stories did make their way to the press - stories about the boat inspections in Idaho and the Spokane River Water Trail. Those stories can be found below, and we'll work on getting more information from those who were there.
The Spokane River Water Trail. One thing that makes the Centennial Trail so easy to grasp is the numerous access points and diverse uses. So why not carry that concept over to the Spokane River? That's the thought of the Water Trail. According to a story filed by Becky Kramer of the Spokesman-Review, the concept includes more watercraft put-ins and take-outs, access maps and kiosks about local history, ecology and culture. "Eighty percent of people think they kind of like the river, but hardly anyone uses it,” said Chris Donley, a fisheries manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Our vision is more people on the river." Read more of this story HERE.
Boat inspections in Idaho - year two. Last year, Idaho began a boat inspection program to help reduce invasise species being transported between waterways and various environments. This year, the program is getting an upgrade. According to the Coeur d'Alene Press, mandatory stickers that fund the program will now be handled through the boat registration process instead of separately, a move that’s expected to boost revenue from $800,000 to $1.3 million and increase inspection rates. In addition, a station for the Cataldo area is in the works. There are currently stations n eastbound Interstate 90 at Huetter, Farragut and Heyburn state parks, Lake Cocollala, Oldtown, Athol and Sandpoint. Read more HERE.