Lake Roosevelt News

The elevation of Lake Roosevelt is hovering around 1,232.5 feet above sea level The lake level will remain in the 1232 -1235 range until the lake begins to refill. By the end of June, refill generally results in the lake rising to above 1280 feet.

Boaters are advised to check if the boat launch they prefer is available for use, particularly when lake levels are low. Click here, for an easy way to do this. You can click on the boat launch of interest from this Forum web page. A graph will show you if the launch level is above or below the lake level. It’s a handy tool worth bookmarking.  

Beach campers should also be very aware of lake level changes. Rapid refill can unmoor beached boats and inundate camp sites.

The very popular Porcupine Bay Campground located in Lincoln County on the Spokane River arm of Lake Roosevelt is closed, potentially for months. This is due to a landslide at the beginning of April which prevents all vehicle access to the campground and surrounding area. Click here to see drone footage of the landslide, including washing out of the road.


Heavy rain falls have set records throughout eastern Washington, causing landslides and washing out roads and bridges. Travelers are advised to plan and check their routes carefully.

The concessionaire for Kettle Falls Marina accepted a one year contract extension to operate a full suite of marina activities, including fueling and houseboat rentals.

NPS is currently examining alternatives for the best path forward. While many are hopeful, challenges for successful long term operation remain. The Park Service, for instance, has identified aging dock and fueling conditions that need to be addressed.

“Community upset with the current situation is clear and easy to understand,” said Forum Executive Director Andy Dunau. “But the only remedy for the upset is meeting the challenges identified. That means joining hands to define the how and who of investments that make long term operation of the marina viable.”

A public meeting is expected to be scheduled to receive public input.

Over the last couple of years, Lake Roosevelt fishery managers saw a disturbing increase in the presence of Northern Pike. This non-native species is a voracious predator of other fish that, once established with breeding populations, is almost impossible to rid from the system.

In 2016 fishery managers received funding from the Bonneville Power Administration’s Fish and Wildlife program to strike back. Rich Landers with the Spokesman reported on their gillnetting ground game that captured over 360 adult pike this winter. Read More from the Spokesman Review.

In February, the National Park Service (NPS) announced that Kettle Falls Marina would close April 30. That is the date when the National Park Service contract with Lake Roosevelt Vacations, Inc. expires.

After further consideration, NPS is offering Lake Roosevelt Vacations a one-year contract extension to operate the marina through April 30, 2018. The Forum will keep the community apprised as to whether this offer is accepted, and additional work NPS is doing to engage the public in developing a long-term strategy for visitor services at Kettle Falls.

Click here for NPS news release.

Click here for FAQs on Kettle Fall Marina Contract Extension Offer.

Click here to see the Bureau of Reclamation 2017 winter/spring lake level forecast for Lake Roosevelt. This forecast shows the lake levels being reduced to the mid-1250’ above sea level range by the end of April. Compared to other years, this would not be a deep draw down. This early forecast, however, often changes substantially based on actual snowpack and timing of snowmelt in the Canadian Rockies.

Park Service News Release

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area will be hosting a public scoping meeting in Spokane, WA at the Center for Clinical Research and Simulation building (CCRS) court, 412 E. Spokane Falls Blvd, on February 6th at 6:00 pm.

The focus of this scoping meeting is to discuss the expansion of a variety of proposed outdoor recreational opportunities. Preliminary recreational options include: development of a disc golf course, installation of a traditional and 3-D archery ranges, mountain bike course, expansion of the Park’s trail system, and the development of a Kettle River Water Trail for non-motorized watercraft.

Please join us in discussing these preliminary ideas. Public input in the planning process is greatly appreciated. 

256 people attended one or both days of the 2016 conference. They represented a dynamic cross section of area tribes, natural resource managers, agency folks from throughout the Northwest, elected officials, conservation interests, teachers and students, and the general public. Click here to download the Winter 2017 Issue

Also in this Issue

  • Recreation Economy Takes Center Stage
  • Lincoln County Opens New Vistas for Promoting Lake
  • National Park Service Updates
  • WDFW Redband Trout Fishing Rule Changes
  • EPA Remedial Investigation Updates
  • Invasive Mussel Scare Prompts Calls for Heightened Vigilance
  • Students & Teachers Enjoy Lake Roosevelt Water Festival

It’s been almost 20 years since the federal action agencies (the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Bonneville Power Administration) analyzed the socio-economic and environmental effects of operating 14 multi-purpose federal dams in the Columbia River Basin.

This fall, the action agencies begin a five-year process to prepare an environmental
impact statement (EIS) on the system operation and maintenance of these dams.
The Action Agencies will use this EIS process to assess and update their approach for
long-term system operations and configuration, effectively guiding environmental and human relationships with the Columbia River System for another generation. Information can be found at www.crso.info.

On Monday, November 14th the action agencies are sponsoring an open house from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane, WA to receive public input that will “… help define the issues, concerns, and the scope of alternatives to be addressed in the EIS.”
At the Lake Roosevelt Forum Conference that begins on November 15th, a plenary session will also help the public understand the historical context, related issues, and how to be engaged.


The importance of this effort cannot be understated. It strikes at the heart of analyzing the socio-economic and environmental effects of operating 14 dams on the Columbia River System, then determining an array of alternatives that will directly impact the operation of these projects and measures to minimize their impacts. Whether one is concerned with salmon, the cost of power, irrigation, cultural resources, recreation, flood control and more, the very character of the Northwest ends up being on the table for discussion.


Updating the EIS was spurred by a U.S. District Court decision from Judge Simon. Noted Judge Simon, updating the EIS can ignite consideration of innovative solutions and public officials ability to better “… evaluate the costs and benefits of various alternatives.”


In the agencies notice of intent to prepare the EIS and conduct public scoping sessions for input, action agencies sited examples of high profile alternatives that may be explored. On the operational side, these include dam breaching, altering operations for affecting river flows, and structural modifications to improve fish passage. Examples of non-operational options include improving habitat conditions, altering the hatchery operations, and managing terns and other species that prey on endangered species.  


There is no cost to attend the open house, with participants being able to come in at any time during the three hours to engage with action agencies. Click here to register for the conference.


The Bureau of Reclamation’s Columbia River Basin Climate Impact Assessment and Washington State’s 2016 Columbia River Basin Long-Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast will be featured at the conference on November 15th.


These studies are part of a growing body of research and planning assessing the impact of climate change on meeting power, irrigation, flood control, fisheries, recreation and other demands. The consensus is that, on average, the basin will see more precipitation in winter and less during the summer. By extension, runoff and river flows are expected to increase in the winter and decrease in the summer.


Said Andy Dunau, the Forum’s Executive Director, “People are pretty much moving beyond whether climate change exists, who to blame or what to blame. This session takes us into the conversations of what to expect, who it effects and management options.”


Often, this means revisiting what’s included in and accounted for in the regulatory environment, e.g.-- recovery plans for endangered species and environmental impact statements. For instance, the process to update the Columbia River EIS was spurred by a U.S. District Court decision from Judge Simon. The judge noted a lot has changed in twenty years, including the need to account for climate change and new alternatives to protect ESA listed steelhead and salmon.


Reclamation’s assessment compiles research from a wide range of sources to consider possible impacts across eight water resource categories: water and power infrastructure, reservoir conditions and water delivery, flood control operations, water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, endangered species, ecological resiliency, and recreation.


At the conference, Bureau of Reclamation Resource Services Manager Bryan Horsburgh will provide a high-level view of the assessment’s analysis across these water resource categories.


Said Horsburgh, “The assessment was done internally to provide a reconnaissance level view of potential changes to things like precipitation and river flows. We can then look at whether we have the infrastructure in place to handle possible operational changes. The assessment isn’t decisional in any way. It just helps prepare us for participating in any number of regulatory and operational discussions.”


On a parallel path, the Washington Department of Ecology collaborated with the Washington State University Water Research Center on a Columbia Basin water supply and demand forecast. “The forecast gives regional and local pictures of how the water supply and demand is expected to change,” said Johathan Yoder, director of the State Water Research Center.


For instance, between 2000 and 2035 water demand is expected to increase by 9 percent across the state. At the same time, climate change impacts show water supply being less available when demands are highest.


Please join us at the conference to learn more.

In a first of its kind report, the total economic value of the National Park system and programs to the American public is pegged at $92 billion. Released in June of this year, the report was done for the National Parks Foundation by Colorado State University and the Harvard Kennedy School.

Researchers looked beyond the typical economic impact metrics measuring the direct and indirect effect of spending visitation dollars in the park system, and instead estimated the value of the National Park Service to the public, including the “intrinsic value” of preserving National Parks, whether they use them or not.

Michelle Haefele, a Research Associate at Colorado State University who co-authored the report, will share insights at the Lake Roosevelt Forum Conference on November 16th. Said Haefele, "The value of a public good is never valued by a marketplace. To do that you need to know the intrinsic value of a good. In this case, asking what's the value of knowing National Park Service assets are protected for current and future generations."

To do this, a national survey of households was conducted. Researchers found that 94.8% of the public want National Parks preserved for current and future generations. This cuts across political leanings or whether they visited a park. They also found that the total economic value calculated by researchers is 30 times the annual federal budget to support national parks.

At the conference Haefele will review these and other findings. For example, researchers used the survey to conduct a “choice experiment.” People were given choices between paying more federal income tax, selling public lands and other options to preserve sites and properties in the current system.  “It’s clear that the public places a large value on the irreplaceable lands, waters and historic sites managed by the National Park Service for the American people,” said Haefele.

Building on this opening session, lunch will feature Jon Snyder, Washington State’s first Outdoor Recreation Economic Policy Advisor, discussing economic development and opportunity that’s tied to the outdoors. Then Steve Pozzanghera with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will share results of “listening forums,” social media and other public engagement to gather perspectives on the priorities that should drive WDFW investments and services. And lastly, Kittitas county commissioner Paul Jewell will give local elected perspectives on managing lands for recreation and conservation.

Said Dunau, “To set priorities at all levels of government you need to talk about the value of things, direct and intrinsic. And it’s not a straight forward conversation because there is no right answer other than what’s in each person’s heart. Our speakers are giving us insights to help us along with the conversation.”

Two Lake Roosevelt Forum Conference sessions will address the common question “so where are we with reintroduction of salmon into the Upper Columbia?” The answer, in simple terms, is that the phased, science-based approach called for in the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program is well underway. At the same time, Canadian natural resource managers and researchers are engaged in similar efforts.

Presentations will explain two important story lines. First, literature searches and studies are being undertaken to investigate the habitat potential, donor stocks, and reintroduction risks. A life cycle model is under development that will inform probabilities and opportunities for success.

Said Stephen Smith, salmon reintroduction consultant to area tribes, “These efforts address the key issues you need to consider before initiating pilot reintroductions. Anyone can plant a fish, we’re interested in long term survival and sustainability.”

Some of the investigations like life cycle modeling are just being completed. The conference is an opportunity to learn what’s being discovered, time lines for completion, discussions regarding how the work will be stitched together, and prospects for the future.

Second, participants will see how the Spokane Tribe of Indians, Colville Confederated Tribes, Upper Columbia United Tribes and the Canadian Columbia River Intertribal Fisheries Commission are leveraging funding sources and distributing efforts across organizations. Said Dr. Brent Nichols, fisheries manager for the Spokane Tribe, “We’re in this for the long haul, understanding our joint and mutual efforts are continuously needed.”

Said Andy Dunau, the Forum’s Executive Director, “It’s an exciting time. Climate change, system operations, the biologic opinion and the treaty are coming down the conveyor belt. Reintroduction is a challenging question by itself. How it fits with these and other variables is something people will be puzzling over for the foreseeable future. My two cents is to get engaged early and often if you want a voice in what the Upper Columbia looks like down the road.”


Join us at the LRF Conference to learn more about regional defenses and successful practices to prevent and deter aquatic invasive species in our waters. Register Now.


Aquatic invasive species, particularly zebra and quagga mussels, continue to be of great concern in the Northwest. One need only look to Lake Mead, the Great Lakes or the Mississippi River to see their horrific effect on dams, irrigation pumps, boats and the general environment. Besides being unsightly, the costs of mitigation and lost economic development runs into the millions of dollars annually.


The Northwest and British Columbia has, thus far, largely been spared. That’s partly good fortune, and partly the result of agencies across sixteen states and two Canadian provinces working collaboratively to leverage resources and forces to set up effective defenses. Lisa DeBruyckere, who has been working with and co-facilitating the Building Consensus consortium, sums up the effort this way, “The work the western states and Canadian provinces have done during the past five years to coordinate and collaborate is a model for how regions can work together to prevent the spread of invasive species.”


We are very fortunate to have consortium members presenting at the conference. They will get participants up to speed on what’s being done and what you can do to support these efforts. Here’s a taste of what’s on tap with presentations:


At www.westernais.org, three types of databases and mapping tools are available. One of the databases shows where watercraft inspection stations are located and associated technical information. Another provides contact information for AIS coordinators, so that if you’re moving a boat, you can contact someone familiar with the AIS rules and regulations at the destination location. At the same time, the USGS waterbody monitoring data base is being moved to this site, enabling you to find where various sampling is occurring. In addition, the site currently contains a data sheet showing all of the quagga/zebra mussel sampling methods used by western organizations as well as a listing of all quagga/zebra mussel field and laboratory protocols used.


There are also new education and outreach materials, such as boat hauler notification sheets describing the regulations and requirements from state to state. On another front, and with the assistance and direction of National Sea Grant and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, they are developing a “model legal framework” so that states, provinces and others can be as consistent as possible in regulating transportation and other variables designed to prevent the spread of invasives.


The net result is a successful effort to put on the ground best practices to prevent introduction. That said, the consortium is also keenly aware of the need for swift response when invasives are identified. Toward this end, they’ll also share the rapid response exercise developed to train people across agencies in how to collaboratively attack the problem if it does materialize.


It’s an all-star cast of knowledge that will help anyone interested in learning more and wanting to access resources that can easily be adapted and put on the ground in your local area. Register Now.

From Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area:

The Hart Road Fire, started on August 21, 2016, burned approximately 585 acres of federal land along the Spokane River within Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area (LRNRA).  Beginning at 12:01 am September 9, 2016, and remaining until further notice, the Superintendent has closed all federal land located within the fire footprint under the authority granted by 36 CFR §1.5(a) (1) due to significant safety concerns within the burned area.  This closure includes all vehicle, horse, and foot traffic, as well as all shoreline access encompassing all federal land burned in the Hart Road Fire from the park boundary to the waterline.  An exception exists for those landowners holding a valid road easement through the park to their property.

A burned landscape presents a number of safety hazards that either did not exist prior to the fire or are increased by the effects of the fire.  In some cases these hazardous conditions may continue for several years after a fire.  Be very aware of your surroundings, follow warning signs, and pay particular attention to potential safety hazards such as unstable terrain, falling or rolling debris, displaced wildlife, burned stump holes and root chambers, dead and hazard trees, and debris flows. Hotspots and root chambers can burn underground for months with no sign above ground and falling trees can happen with little to no warning.

Park visitors are also reminded that all motor vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles, may only be operated on authorized park roads within LRNRA.  Off-roading is not allowed anywhere at Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. Those found to be driving off road may receive a federal violation notice, have their vehicle confiscated and be held liable for all costs relating to the response, assessment and restoration of the area of their damage.

At this time there will be increased agency presence in the area of the Hart Road Fire while staff assess and manage the effects of the fire.

From Stevens County, District 12:

Stevens county emergency response volunteers and firefighters have worked for years to develop a marine fire and rescue program that can respond to the unexpected water emergency. The entire western border of our county is waterfront, containing miles of hard to reach, remote access along Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Areas shoreline, and extending into the Columbia and Kettle rivers in the northern part of the county. The diverse outdoor recreation available along our waterfront attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to vacation and visit during the summer months. These guests bring economic prosperity to the area, but also this rise in population brings the potential for a proportional increase in the amount of unfamiliar emergency, or water rescue situations.


Washington state has experienced more fires in the last few years, motivating and reminding us to be prepared for the unexpected emergency. The District 12 volunteers have worked for over 10 years to produce a  marine fire rescue boat to assist and access the Stevens County western border. The retired 24-foot Coast Guard “Sea Arc” was purchased from federal surplus equipment lists and then transported from Sitka, Alaska to Seattle by ferry. District 12 volunteers picked up the boat from the Seattle ferry terminal and delivered it to its new home at the Rice fire department.  


The local firefighters have worked for hundreds of hours to repair the boat and trailer. This time was also used to improve training opportunities for our volunteers, prepare SOP’s for the county EMS, and develop a program to work with cooperating agencies. After almost a year of preparation the District 12 fire boat is available now for limited response to a variety of fire and water/ rescue emergencies by just calling 911.

Capabilities will include:

  • Firefighting on shore and on water
  • Water rescue and emergency response
  • Transfer of fire fighters, and medical response teams
  • Fill fire trucks and drop tanks from lake
  • Hazmat and/or chemical spill support
  • Law enforcement support
  • Border Patrol Support
  • Support Public Ferry at Gifford, which crosses Lake Roosevelt 60 times a day for 51 weeks a year
  • Support Colville and Spokane Reservations
  • United States Coast Guard
  • Department of Natural Resources
  • FEMA and Homeland Security
  • Support National Park Service
  • Support U.S. Forest Service
  • Sheriff and tri-county dive teams
  • Support county and state wide EMS


The waters of northeast Washington bring together, and join many diverse cultures and communities. The fire / rescue boat may serve this multitude of agencies and work across many jurisdictions.


Over the next few years we will continue to modify the boat with specialized equipment and new technologies that will assure an effective and capable addition to our fire preparation.  We will continue to develop a comprehensive marine safety program that includes all cooperating agencies. We will continue to provide new training opportunities, and practice to improve the skills and capabilities of our volunteers. This will assure that we effectively meet the needs of our communities and partners in marine safety for many years to come.


The Fire boat cost, and marine program expenses are currently supported entirely by Stevens County District 12 and its volunteers and their families. The Rice fire house, boat budget is starting to wear thin after the completion of our first year. We will continue to pursue grants and accept donations to complete our first “Fire Engine on the Water”


We want to express our appreciation to the District 12 fire commissioners, our volunteer fire fighters, and the community that supports us. We also want to mention the local fire districts, Stevens County EMS, and the many cooperating agencies for their time, input, and encouragement to continue and make this project a success.  A special mention goes out to Jim Darley at Darley fire pumps, and Dave Hewes along with the entire staff a Hewes Craft for truly inspirational help and timely support.

E-MAIL:        scfpd12@gmail.com
Follow the fireboat project on Facebook:   facebook.com/stevenscountyfiredistrict12

 

A three judge panel from the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that aerial deposition from the Teck smelter in Trail, Canada does not constitute "disposal." As such, Teck cannot be held liable for hazardous substances such as lead, arsenic and mercury emitted from Trail smoke stacks that traveled through the atmosphere and then deposited in the Upper Columbia Valley. Washington State and the Colville Confederated Tribes brought the case to hold Teck liable for cleanup costs and natural resource damages under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA (also known as superfund).

The court relied heavily on two precedents that parse the meaning of "disposal of waste" under CERCLA. In one of the precedents, the ninth circuit ruled that BNSF Railway emitting diesel particulate matter into the air that resettled onto the land and water did not constitute disposal of waste and thus not subject to liability under CERCLA.

News reports indicate plaintiffs will petition for a new hearing before the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Potentially, the case could be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Under terms of a 2006 settlement agreement between EPA and Teck, Teck has funded soil sampling and remediation related to atmospheric deposition in the Upper Columbia Valley. In 2014, EPA sampled 74 residential properties which led to cleanup on 14 properties. This year, 142 property owners granted access for soil sampling that begins this month.


Click here for a National Law Review article reviewing the case and its implications.

Northern Pike (Esox lucius) are a Prohibited Species in Washington State. Anglers are encouraged to kill ALL Northern Pike caught. Harvested Northern Pike must be dead before anglers leave the water where they are caught.

No minimum size or possession limit.

Northern Pike are now present in Lake Roosevelt. This fish species is known to have negative impacts on native fish populations and popular sport fisheries. In addition, further spread of Northern Pike into downstream portions of the Columbia River poses a severe threat to Salmon and Steelhead recovery efforts.

It is illegal to transport or release live fish without a WDFW permit.

Penalty includes up to $5,000 in Fines and A Year in Prison (RCW 77.15.250) and a person found guilty can also be ordered to pay all costs of capturing, controlling or killing those fish or their progeny (in excess of $100,000).

If you see someone transporting or releasing live fish, please call the Washington State Patrol. They will contact the nearest WDFW officer.

  • Spokane County WSP Dispatch: 509-456-4101
  • Stevens County WSP Dispatch: 509-684-7431

 

Congratulations to the Reardan High School Ag Leadership class for winning the Washington state National FFA Organization’s Agricultural Issues Forum competition. In May, they staged a debate highlighting the pros and cons of the topic “Should salmon be reintroduced to the upper Columbia River watershed?”

Rick Perleberg, who teaches the class, commented “This really opened their eyes to what’s going on in their own backyard. This topic more than any other ignited their passions and they ended up seeing themselves as being effectors of change.”

Click here to see the presentation as given to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council in March.

Now it’s on to Indianapolis in October to compete nationally with winning teams from over 40 other states. If you’re interested in helping the team with travel expenses (a little over $7,500 for student travel and related expenses), please mail checks to Reardan FFA Ag Issues Team c/o Reardan High School – 215 E. Spokane Ave, Reardan, WA 99029.

After another successful winter sport fishery on Lake Roosevelt, fishery managers and volunteers are in the process of releasing 600,000 triploid rainbow trout into Lake Roosevelt. Funded by the Bonneville Power Administration Fish and Wildlife program, these fish are a mainstay of a recreational fishery that is enjoyed by thousands of anglers each year.  When released they are about 9 inches long and can eventually grow to five plus pounds. Net pet conditions resulted in the release being about two weeks earlier than usual this year.

The Spokane Tribe of Indians, Colville Confederated Tribes, WA Department of Fish and Wildlife and Net Pen Volunteers co-manage the program. Rich Landers from the Spokesman Review reports.

Outreach for the Lake Roosevelt Forum Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) and related issues will be significantly affected by Public Participation Grants being zeroed out in the Washington State supplemental budget approved at the end of March. The purpose of these grants is to support community outreach related to toxic-waste cleanups and pollution prevention. Receiving PPG funding has been instrumental to the Forum keeping communities informed and engaged in the multi-year RI/FS process.

Said Don Dashiell, Lake Roosevelt Forum Board President and Stevens County Commissioner, "This type of lapse in funding undermines the many years of productive collaboration that has yielded benefits to the ecosystem, wildlife and human components which overlay Lake Roosevelt."

The Lake Roosevelt Forum used PPG funds to support popular activities such as the RI/FS Public Outreach Guide, conference, tours and newsletters. “Concerns about receiving funding,” said Forum Executive Director Andy Dunau, “started last fall. We were put in the awkward position of being told you may eventually receive some, all or none of the funding request. We moved forward on some priority items like the newsletter and outreach to the Northport community to support residential soil sampling outreach. Other items we put on hold on as we waited to hear our fate.”

For the Forum and other small non-profits across the state, going from July 1 (when funding was scheduled to begin) to April to find out no funding will occur is incredibly difficult. As reported in Investigate West, “The state’s biggest toxic-waste cleanups are affected, including those at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, Seattle’s Duwamish River and Tacoma’s Commencement Bay. Lake Roosevelt, Puget Sound, the Columbia River – all are also affected, and in some cases the public-participation programs will be crippled, the community groups say.”

The genesis of the problem is the state needing to fill a $65 million deficit in funding for Ecology programs supported through the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), including PPG. Said Ecology regarding MTCA funding, "The main source of revenues are Hazardous Substance Tax collections. But those are heavily dependent on petroleum prices, which are in a period of high volatility. The enacted 2015-17 capital budget was based on revenue forecasts made when petroleum prices were higher. Since then, prices continued to drop. As a result, MTCA revenue collections have declined significantly below forecasts used to build the enacted capital budget.”

Said Dunau, “The Forum board wants to assure folks that the next Lake Roosevelt Forum conference will be held as scheduled November 15-16 at the Davenport Hotel. We’ll be meeting soon to update our budget to balance out reduction or elimination of certain activities with searching for opportunities to find replacement funding.”

Said Ecology in a statement released to the Forum and others, “We want to emphasize that this is a onetime reduction and Ecology will be asking to restore the appropriation for PPG in the 2017-2019 biennial budget process. Ecology believes in the value of the PPG program and we want to support the work your organizations do for Washington’s communities.”

Said Dunau, “Without leadership from the statehouse and legislature, I’m not personally confident this is a onetime reduction. What I do know is we’re very fortunate to have strong community support and the board has maintained a rainy day reserve, so we can be flexible and innovative as we pursue a path forward.”

Lake levels, which are currently at about 1,265’ above sea level, will decrease to 1,255’ from March 14th to May 14th to accommodate drum gate maintenance at Grand Coulee Dam. The lake may be drawn down further to meet flood control needs, with the next flood control forecast expected the second week of March.


Click here for more information from the Bureau of Reclamation.

Northern Pike are a non-native and highly invasive predator that are considered a serious threat to native fish species. They have long been a minor presence in Lake Roosevelt.

Last year, surveying by the Lake Roosevelt Fisheries Evaluation Program showed a disturbing increase in their Lake Roosevelt presence. Surveying completed this February showed an even more significant increase in numbers, and most likely age populations.

This heightens fishery manager concerns that pike are starting to establish breeding populations in the lake. This would pose a serious threat to management efforts to support native fish like red band trout and the non-native recreational fishery that includes walleye, both of which are on the menu that pike like to prey on. Creating a foothold in Lake Roosevelt is also a significant regional concern due to their potential to spread downstream and into Canada.

Through the Bonneville Power Administration’s Fish and Wildlife program, funding to support pike suppression in 2016 was approved pending favorable Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP) review of the proposed plan.

Click here for additional information reported in the Spokesman Review.

Based on results from residential soil sampling conducted by EPA in 2014, 13 residential properties and 1 tribal allotment qualified for and agreed to cleanup activities that began this summer and were completed in early November. Property owners agreeing to cleanup activities did so voluntarily and incurred no cost for actions taken. 

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Since 1999, the Lake Roosevelt Water Festival has offered area students an interactive day on Lake Roosevelt. Onion Creek School students shared what they learned and their thanks to Water Festival volunteers with photos and handwritten notes (see pic above).

Teachers also commented: "This is such a high quality field trip, I really appreciate being able to bring my kids every year. Thanks so much!" and "All of my students and their adults had a wonderful day of learning...Thank You!"

Similar comments were received from agency volunteers: "Gold stars (5’s) for the entire day! The entire event was very enjoyable and the kids were great."

Sounds like everyone had a great day at this year's Lake Roosevelt Water Festival! See you all in 2016!

 

Now that Coleman Smith has been Power Manager at Grand Coulee Dam for a year, the Forum decided to stop by and see how things are going.


“Just great,” said Coleman. “The area fits with the rural lifestyle that reminds of where I grew up, which was Alabama.” Not a surprise, then, that the Auburn Tigers, his alma mater, is clearly on display in his office.


And how does a gentleman from the south find his way to eastern Washington? “I got a degree in electrical engineering from Auburn, then went to work for the air force for 12 years and the navy for seven years. The last eight years has been with the Bureau of Reclamation.”


With his wife Lauren, who he met and married while at Auburn, the journey has taken them to Virginia, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington. “All of these places have been good to us as we raised our family.”


“Now we’re empty nesters enjoying hiking, camping, backpacking and the occasional fishing trip. Washington has all of that and then some, so it’s a great fit.”


The job of power manager of the largest dam in North America keeps Coleman very busy. The Grand Coulee Dam Third Power Plant Overhaul Project is about two years into a 10 – 15 year effort. When done, the turbine and generators of six units will be modernized. At an estimated cost of about $650 million dollars, it’s a big job.


“Right now,” said Coleman, “we’re finishing up unit 24. With the lessons learned, we expect to be able to apply better processes that will make overhauling the next ones faster. It’s a bit like remodeling your kitchen, until you tear into it you don’t necessarily know what you’ll find.”


In addition to the need to replace aging infrastructure, big benefits of the overhaul include increased generating capacity and efficiency. The three units that currently have an electrical generating capacity of 600 MW each have their turbines replaced to increase their generating capacity to 770 MW each. Further, there is the increased efficiency of the units. These efficiency gains translate into increasing power output by as much as 2 percent. In practical terms, that’s about 84 additional megawatts of electricity, or enough to power about 63,000 homes.


Looking forward, Coleman sees efficiency gains at hydropower projects and implementation of smart grid technologies as being central to meeting the Northwest’s future energy needs. When combined with renewable resources such as wind and continued gains in conservation, he sees a bright future for those interested in maintaining the Northwest’s clean air, low cost electricity, and low carbon footprint status.
The other critical variable that Coleman believes needs to be addressed is the aging workforce. “There’s a big bow wave of retirements working through the system. We need to get new, qualified workers in before the corporate knowledge leaves.”


That’s easier said than done. Although these are excellent wage jobs, the numbers of people graduating from programs with the right credentials is very limited. In addition, although Coleman is comfortable and attracted to the rural scene, others are not. “So it’s both a recruitment and retention problem,” said Coleman.


In an innovative effort to “grow our own,” Grand Coulee Dam is partnering with a Lake Roosevelt High School to allow students to volunteer at the dam as part of taking an engineering class. Students come in once a week to work on projects with engineers, operators, machinists and others to get practical hands on experience. Thinking long term, the hope is some of these students will be part of the next generation operating Grand Coulee Dam.


“We’re making progress on a lot of fronts,” concludes Coleman. “Support and partnerships with the community is very much part of what we value.”

On October 1st, EPA is hosting a meeting in Northport to discuss residential soil clean up that began in late August, results of residential and upland soil sampling to date, and opportunities for residents in the area to participate in additional sampling.

 

Location: Northport School Cafeteria, 404 10th Street, Northport, WA 99157

Date:Thursday, October 1

Time: 6:30 pm

 

Click here for additional information provided by EPA.

Since 1999, the Lake Roosevelt Water Festival has rung in the school year for upper elementary students in the Upper Columbia. Taking place at Kettle Falls swim beach and Sherman Creek fish hatchery, this was a particularly poignant year for the ten schools and 376 students that participated.

 

With the devastating fires of this summer, there was something special about students coming out to learn about the environment from the National Park Service, US Forest Service, WA Department of Fish & Wildlife, Avista, Stevens & Ferry County conservation districts, Spokane Tribe of Indians, and the Colville Confederated Tribes.

 

There’s a lot of healing and growth going on up here. The slideshow below includes photos of kids teaching us as much as we’re teaching them.

 

  • WF 1
  • WF 2
  • WF 3
  • WF 4
  • WF 5
  • WF 6
  • WF 7
  • WF 8

This picture taken by Forum member Foster Fanning, who is also Fire Chief at Ferry / Okanogan Fire Protection District #14 and Washington State Department of Natural Resources at WA DNR. Visit his facebook page for a lot of very good information. Foster does more than chronicle the sorrows and horrors being faced, he provides poignant seeds of hope and thanks that remind us all what makes our communities great.

The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Bureau of Reclamation are teaming up to enforce federal laws on Reclamation lands within the exterior boundary of the Colville Reservation to certified Tribal police officers. The net result will be to increase and strengthen law enforcement in these area. Click here to read news release.

The Tri-County Economic Development Board (Tri-County) voted to support Upper Columbia United Tribe (UCUT) efforts to conduct a feasibility study to reintroduce salmon above Grand Coulee Dam. Tri-County is a federally-recognized Economic Development District representing Ferry, Pend Oreille, and Stevens County in the Upper Columbia Basin.

Their support includes a goal“… to establish a common understanding and consensus amongst the regional stakeholders before continuing to the next phase.” Click here to read their letter of support.

Click here to view the summer, 2015 LRF Newsletter.

Stories feature community perspectives on residential soil sampling and proposed contaminated yard removal actions in an area along the Columbia River Valley upstream of Northport extending to the Canadian border, and the opportunity to study the feasibility of salmon once again migrating passed Grand Coulee Dam. There’s also important information about the fight to reduce aquatic invasive species and drought conditions.

Click here to view the web version of the 2015 Lake Roosevelt Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study Public Guide. The online address is www.lrf.org/publicguide2015. The print version of the guide was distributed in late June. Contact us for additional copies.

“The guide,” said the Forum’s Executive Director Andy Dunau, “shares with you what is currently known and progress being made on the Upper Columbia River Site RI/FS investigation.” The investigation follows U.S. Superfund law and has been on-going for a number of years. Noted Dunau, “One of the big benefits of the on-line version is web links to a number of primary and secondary resources. For interested citizens, managers and researchers, it makes getting up to speed on the history of this complex and lengthy investigation much easier.”

The web version also marks the Forum introducing a new web tool that allows the guide to be displayed in an easy to read magazine format with user friendly navigation and other tools. In addition, the 2011 public guide remains available online as it provides additional background information that people may find useful.

To stay up to date on new activities and results, click here to subscribe to the Forum’s electronic newsletter and click here to subscribe to out print newsletter. From the guide and the links area of our web site, there are also links to community and agency resources to help keep you up to date.

Rich Landers with the Spokesman Review reports on efforts to suppress the spike in northern pike being found in Lake Roosevelt this year. Says Landers, “Northern pike have bared their teeth in Lake Roosevelt this year, bringing to mind the early 2000s, when the non-native predators first showed up in significant numbers in the Pend Oreille River.” Read More

The National Park Service (NPS) is joining the fight against aquatic invasive species (AIS) in a big way.

As reported at the conference by managers throughout the region, invasive zebra and quagga mussels pose the greatest threat to Northwest waterways. An infestation could cost hundreds of millions of dollars annually to infrastructure and personal property if not dealt with effectively.

Fortunately, Lake Roosevelt is currently free of these mussels. Other AIS species in our midst, however, include Asian clams, northern pike, Eurasian milfoil, and crayfish.

NPS has secured funding for a new staff person and seasonal work crew, purchase of 6 hot water decontamination units, and public outreach materials. On point is Meghan Lyons, who joins NPS staff after 10 years working in fisheries in the Colville National Forest. Said Lyons, “The biggest thing people can do is clean, drain and dry their boat every time they go in and out of a waterbody.”

A high visibility piece is putting into service 6 hot water decontamination units purchased earlier this year by NPS. “Three of these units will be used by NPS staff, and three will go to our partners: the Spokane Tribe of Indians, Colville Confederated Tribes, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW),” said Lyons.

This year NPS will, on randomly selected days, conduct inspections and place decontamination units at various boat launches. Said Lyons, “Starting in mid-June we’ll pick popular, frequently used boat launches.” Here’s what to expect if you arrive at a boat launch with inspection activities:

  • A seasonal crew will ask you where you’re boat’s been the last thirty days. If it’s local waters and the boat is clean and dry, inspection could be done in 5 to 10 minutes.
  • If your boat has come from Lake Mead or other waters known to be infested, the inspection could take 15 – 30 minutes. Even if nothing is found a hot water decontamination may be suggested because the presence of AIS can be very hard to detect.

Those doing inspections will also provide brochures and other information to educate and inform the public, including teaching boaters how to do their own inspections. Signage advising people of WA State AIS regulations will be posted at boat launches. And NPS is providing a phone number (509-754-7869) to encourage people to reach out for assistance, including scheduling a time for hot water decontamination.

“Really,” said Lyons, “the best thing for folks coming from infested areas is to have your boat out of the water, clean and dry for a week or longer. The next best thing is to call us and ask questions. We’re here to help.” Two excellent web resources are from WDFW (wdfw.wa.gov/ais), and the 100th Meridian Initiative (100thmeridian.org).

With 22 boat launches operated by NPS and additional ones operated by tribes, it’s certainly possible to avoid inspection. “This only works,” said Andy Dunau, the Forum’s Executive Director, “if people see this as doing their part to protect Lake Roosevelt and protect property. The benefits of finding and addressing problems before they get in the lake are enormous.”

WDFW will operate their decontamination unit out of their Spokane Office. Those trailering boats from other areas can call ahead for inspection and assistance. In addition, those stopped at Idaho or other inspection stations can be escorted to WDFW’s Spokane Office to address matters of concern.

The Spokane Tribe of Indians and Colville Confederated Tribes are determining how to integrate decontamination units into existing staff time and resources.

On the monitoring and inventory side of the equation, this summer NPS will be focusing on locating and mapping AIS like Eurasian milfoil and crayfish. As for suppression, they’re encouraging catch and permanent removal of northern pike and non-native crayfish.

As an outcome of the conference, Bob Valen started a Facebook page “Communities of Lake Roosevelt.” Click here to share ideas, events and items of interest to Lake Roosevelt communities. Bob is Vice President the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce.

320 people attended one or both days of the 2015 Lake Roosevelt Forum Conference. Said Foster Fanning with the Rickey Point Sailing Club, “I’ve spent 50 days a year on this lake for 20 years and learned more details in two days than I thought possible. It was great and will have ramifications for a long time to come.”

Click here for presentations.

The latest forecast from the Northwest River Forecast Center predicts water supply for the Columbia River will be 71% of average from April through August. This forecast triggers operational changes to the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) to protect fish migration.

Click here for BPA press release on what’s being done.

As the National Park Service (NPS) approaches its 100 year anniversary, it's launching a multifaceted Centennial campaign. One of the key campaign features focuses on developing a new generation of stewards that connect to these iconic, beautiful and historic places, and care for them in the future.

"Therein lies a great opportunity for the Lake Roosevelt community," said Andy Dunau, Executive Director of the Lake Roosevelt Forum. "This is also the 70th anniversary of NPS management of Lake Roosevelt as a National Recreation Area. What does the future hold for stewardship, recreation, visitation and protection of cultural resources?"

Statistically, the national parks counted 292 million visitors in 2014; of these, about 1.3 million came to Lake Roosevelt. The profile of those visitors tends to be older and whiter than the U.S. population overall. Said Dunau, "That's a nice way of saying millennials, who now outnumber boomers, need to be coaxed into the park system. The 50s campaign 'See the USA in your Chevrolet' isn't going to work."

Beginning with a plenary session on Wednesday, NPS will share the highlights of their Centennial campaign, and opportunities to leverage the campaign from both an economic and stewardship perspectives. Said Dan Foster, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area Superintendent, "One of the greatest challenges we face is developing stewards who have an appreciation for our national treasures and see the tangible and intangible benefits for their protection, now and into the future."

During the plenary and following sessions, local leaders will give their impressions of what's desirable as we look forward. In one session, historian Jack Nesbitt and NPS will take a look at where we've come from, while others will look at where we may be headed. In another session, leaders will describe development of an Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail and brainstorm what it may mean to the area and region.

Throughout, the dialog will consider ways for people to "connect to their parks" with marketing opportunities that build off of the natural resources and history unique to the area. "The trick," said Dunau "is how you protect and enhance the resource while allowing a new generation to experience its wonders."

Making the challenge more complicated is a national $11 billion backlog of unfunded maintenance. As a result, conversations will also consider the types of investments that need to be made and options for raising the dollars to make them.

Join us and join the conversation.

Complete program agenda with speakers to be released next week, stay tuned!!

Even though this winter brought above average precipitation to much of the region, our warm winter means poor snowpack in many watersheds, leading Governor Inslee to declare a drought emergency across three regions in Washington. Click here for map of drought areas and further information.

The Bureau of Reclamation and National Weather Service will be presenting the latest information and potential effects throughout the region at the Lake Roosevelt Conference on April 21st.

Lake Roosevelt is not the focal point of concern. Said Lynne Brougher, a Public Affairs Officer for the Bureau of Reclamation at Grand Coulee Dam, "Elevations in the Canadian Rockies are high enough that what was rain down here was snow up there. If you look at what's called the snow water equivalent, we're at 82% of normal."

Lake Roosevelt is at 1,255 feet above sea level and is predicted to remain in the 1253 - 1255 range until May 10th. "That's so we can perform drum gate maintenance, otherwise the lake would be higher this year," said Brougher. Click here for more Lake Roosevelt lake level information and forecasts.

Other basins are not fairing nearly as well. The snow water equivalent in the Olympics is 8 percent of median; 40 percent of normal in the Spokane / Coeur d'Alene basin, 10 to 30 percent in the Yakima, and 27 percent in Walla Walla. Click here for basin reports throughout Washington.

Sounding as much like a basketball coach as natural resource manager, Jim Ruff wants Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) stopped at the border. Jim, a fish and wildlife manager with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, is part of a team of U.S. and Canadian agencies setting up a "perimeter defense system."

Join us at the Lake Roosevelt Conference to learn about strategies and resources being employed at both regional and local levels to hold the line against invasives. There will be presentations from WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ecology, BC Ministry of the Environment, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area and Creative Resource Strategies.

Invasive zebra and quagga mussels still pose the greatest threat to Northwest waterways. Said Ruff, "An infestation of these invasive mussels into our region could cost hundreds of millions of dollars annually to protect everything from irrigation pumps and hydropower facilities to fish and wildlife."

Smaller than your thumb nail, a mussel can filter a liter of water a day. And what they are filtering out is phytoplankton, which creates a domino effect that can take out the base of the food chain. And the speed at which they breed is like a bad sci-fi movie, with mussel colonies forming rock-hard mats of shells that can clog water intake and delivery pipes, infest hydropower infrastructures, adhere to boats and pilings, foul recreational beaches, compete with native mussels, and disrupt food webs and the biological functioning of aquatic habitats.

Currently, infestations are centered in the Great Lakes in the Midwest, and Lakes Mead, Powell, Havasu and Pleasant in the Southwest. What the southwest lakes have in common is connectivity to the lower Colorado River. Invasive mussels are now being found in neighboring western states. Recently juvenile quagga mussels were found in Deer Creek Reservoir in north-central Utah, very close to the Columbia Basin.

"Given the failure to contain invasives at the source, we're trying to set up a perimeter defense in the Northwest, which includes our neighbors in Canada," said Ruff. "We can show you maps with inspection stations located on highways coming into the region. And we know from these stations that contaminated watercraft are coming in from trailered watercraft and commercial haulers bringing in yachts and sail boats."

Northwest states are spending about 2.4 million dollars a year on boat inspection stations, monitoring and outreach. "That's not enough," said Ruff. "We're working to get more funding from Washington D.C. to increase the number of inspection stations, plus the length of time stations are operational and the number of people to operate them. Right now you can come through in the winter and stations are closed. Or you can come through in the wee hours of the morning during the summer and stations are closed. That creates holes in our perimeter defense."

Working with Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER), the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, the NW states and others, regional players are both developing the perimeter defense strategy and seeking additional funding. The Council is collaborating with interested parties in the Northwest and Canada to share information and develop strategies for 2015 including:

  • Developing a common understanding of the issues and potential problems
  • Merging, updating, and sharing all existing anti-mussel action plans
  • Obtaining consensus on regional recommendations for prevention, early detection, control, and management of invasive mussels
  • Supporting legislation, planning for visits with legislators
  • Securing funding for mussel-prevention efforts
  • Strategies for stopping the spread of invasive mussels at the source
  • Strategies for public information

As bad as zebra and quagga mussels are, there are also plenty of other invasive species causing trouble. The Kalispel's are gillnetting Northern pike by the thousands on the Pend Oreille; yet they are being seen in increasing numbers in Lake Roosevelt. "If those Pike head downstream or farther west, that's big trouble for salmon and steelhead," said Ruff. Further, Eurasian milfoil and other aquatic weeds continue to migrate into various systems.

Preventing a Northwest infestation is a key measure in the Council's 2014 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program. The program calls for:

  • Reducing threats from invasive species
  • Preventing the establishment of aquatic invasive species
  • Monitoring and managing various introduction pathways into the Columbia River Basin
  • Developing strategies and outreach tools to educate the public

Ultimately, said Ruff, "Everyone is going to need to get involved. The conference is a great opportunity to show what we're doing and find new players to add to our regional defense."

Click here to read Rich Landers Spokesman Review article recognizing the extraordinary importance of Professor Al Scholz to fisheries in eastern Washington and beyond. The Forum will be recognizing Dr. Scholz and his work at the Forum Conference on April 22nd.

Dr. Scholz's proudest legacy is his students who are now the professionals we rely on.

"When Dr. Scholz arrived on the scene 35 years ago, Lake Roosevelt was considered a sterile lake by the State of Washington," said Andy Dunau, the Forum's Executive Director. "Not only did he not except that verdict, he took students from area tribes and other locations and led the way to bring Lake Roosevelt and other fisheries back."

The timing of recognizing Dr. Scholz could not be better. 35 years later we're now broaching the conversation of reintroducing salmon above Chief Joe and Grand Coulee. And the Kalispel Tribe is taking the lead on the vision to pass resident fish past six dams stretching from Pend Oreille, WA to Clark Fork, MT. These and other fishery topics on both sides of the border are featured at the conference.

Please join his students and an all-star cast of fishery researchers and managers as we both recognize Dr. Scholz and look toward the future.

Register now

The Lake Roosevelt Forum 2015 conference will provide an opportunity for people in the U.S. and Canada to follow up on commitments and dialog from the Columbia River Basin Transboundary Conference held last October in Spokane, which was attended by more than 300 people from both nations. The theme of that conference was, "learning from our past to shape our future." Click here for conference report.

Co-sponsored by the Columbia Basin Trust and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, the conference covered a wide range of transboundary Columbia River issues, from energy to ecosystem management. Participants encouraged follow-up, and so at the Lake Roosevelt Forum conference we are planning three sessions to highlight transboundary projects. These include environmental work in the Arrow Lakes and Lake Koocanusa, and studies that are being planned to assess the feasibility of reintroducing salmon and steelhead into the Columbia River above Grand Coulee Dam, which has blocked their passage since the late 1930s. On the American side of the border we will learn about habitat improvements and transboundary white sturgeon recovery in the upper Columbia mainstem, and the American perspective on reintroducing salmon and steelhead above Grand Coulee.

"We'll pick up where the October conference left off," said Jennifer Anders, a Montana member of the Power Council and chair of its public affairs committee. "Presentations about efforts on both sides of the border will not only showcase the work that is going on and the people involved, but also the potential for better communication among those who are engaged in similar work."

Anders said the Forum 2015 conference provides an opportunity to explore the idea put forward at the Transboundary Conference in October to develop a more formalized mechanism or structure with international membership to enhance cross-border dialogue on a range of important topics. At the October conference in Spokane delegates recognized that one possible way to address transboundary challenges would be to simply increase the dialogue and understanding on both sides of the border of the issues at hand. This could be done by having existing entities states, tribes, first nations, federal and provincial agencies, non-profits, electric and water utilities working together in a more structured process to explore these issues. The group would have no formal decision-making authority. Rather, it would be chartered by its participants to pursue tasks that could include transboundary information-sharing and a platform for basin wide dialogue on key issues.

Kindy Gosal, Director of Special Initiatives for the Columbia Basin Trust, said "Participants wanted the October conference to be more than a point in time dialog of common interests and concerns. Working with the Lake Roosevelt Forum conference this April gives us a timely way to learn more from each other and follow through on the recommendation to create a collaborative entity to provide vision and guidance to decision-makers on both sides of the international border."

Time to register for the 2015 Lake Roosevelt Forum Conference, April 21—22 at the Davenport Hotel. Click here for agenda and conference information. As with past conferences, this is the meeting place for elected officials, tribes, agencies, interest groups and citizens to network and learn from each other.

“We’re very thankful to the many people and groups who developed the conference agenda,” said Andy Dunau, the Forum’s Executive Director. “A lot of sessions really lean into future possibilities that were considered unlikely or impossible in our lifetime.”

Same URL, www.lrf.org, brand new web site. Check it out.

“There are a lot of interactive pages in this site people are going to really like,” said Forum Board Member and Lincoln County Commissioner Scott Hutsell.

Click here to view a fact sheet EPA released in November. This publication updates the public on EPA's Upper Columbia River Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, which extends from the U.S./Canadian border to Grand Coulee Dam. The fact sheet summarizes the status of the most recent studies being done to develop both human health and ecological risk assessments.
 
As you'll read, some studies are complete while others are in progress. No time line is given regarding when either a draft human health or ecological risk assessment will be available for public comment. Once all assessments and related work are done as part of these Remedial Investigation studies, which thus far have been underway since 2005, EPA will eventually evaluate various cleanup options and propose (to the degree necessary) a plan to address pollution. This would then lead to design and implementation of cleanup actions.

Residents, property owners and land managers in areas around the Northport community and up to the Canadian border have been getting a lot of attention in 2014 because of two soil sampling studies being conducted as part of the Upper Columbia River (UCR) remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS).

A residential soil study is being conducted by EPA to generate analytical data for soil samples that will be used to refine exposure estimates for residents in the northernmost reaches of the UCR Study Area. This data will support the human health risk assessment (HHRA).

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE NEWS RELEASE

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act allows federal land management agencies to utilize recreation fee funds to provide quality recreation experiences for hundreds of millions of visitors every year to some of America’s most scenic, iconic, awe-inspiring, historical, and culturally rich lands and resources. Participating agencies use and leverage recreation fees to implement thousands of projects to enhance public safety, maintain recreation sites, provide eye-opening educational experiences, build informational wayside exhibits, fund interpretive programs, and offer a wide range of recreational and cultural opportunities.

Much of the Northwest’s natural DNA traces back to the end of the last Ice Age, some 12,000 to 17,000 years ago. Our landscapes still bear the markings of cataclysmic floods released from Glacial Lake Missoula, a body of water as large as some of the USA’s Great Lakes.

As waters broke through a lobe of the Canadian ice sheet, a debris field covering 16,000 square miles was left in parts of Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. To the naked eye, you can see high water lines, dunes, massive boulders in the middle of farm fields, giant coulees, dry falls, gravel bars, scablands, and more. For those meandering through these landscapes, “What’s that?” is a common phrase.

Enhancements at Kettle Falls and Keller Ferry marinas are making Lake Roosevelt recreational opportunities that much easier and better.

At Kettle Falls Marina, an expanded parking area will accommodate an additional 50 boat trailer rigs. And either this fall or next spring, a mast staging area for sailboats will be added. Said Jim Brown, the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area Facility Manager, “These projects will help relieve congestion. In addition, we’re adding some additional vault toilets.”

For millions of people, the iconic laser light show that graces the front of Grand Coulee Dam is a fond and endearing memory of the “time we visited Grand Coulee.”

After 25 years, the Bureau of Reclamation introduced a new laser light show, “One River, Many Voices” in May of 2014. At a cost of $2.3 million, the new show is a great leap forward in both technology and content. The old show used four colors and 4 large ion gas lasers for projection. The new show comes with 14 colors projected from 4 smaller lasers that each emits multiple beams. The sound system was also replaced. Said Lynne Brougher, Grand Coulee Dam Public Affairs Officer, “The images projected are more intense and much clearer and the sound is much better with the new show.”

Surface Water: After three rounds of sampling (completed in 2009 and 2010) the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show Lake Roosevelt and the Upper Columbia general water quality safe for swimming. Further, surface water concentrations for all metals (e.g., arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, and zinc); and organics (e.g., PCBs, dioxins/furans and pesticides) are within limits protective of aquatic life. The RI/FS only looked at contaminants, not at bacteria; therefore, it is good practice not to drink water from the Columbia River without treating it first, as it may contain Giardia (which causes beaver fever).

Do you have fond memories of school field trips? Each year agency and community volunteers create these lifelong memories for children living around the Lake Roosevelt area.

Each May the Forum offers Student Discovery Week. Each Discovery Zone is staffed by local resource specialists. 355 students attended this year. This exciting event is an opportunity for elementary and middle school students and teachers to explore the ecological, social and economic complexities of Lake Roosevelt’s watershed.

The Forum celebrated the beginning of October by taking 43 people on a bus tour of the upper Columbia. Starting at a student run fish hatchery in Colville that is a unique partnership between Stevens County, the school district and the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, participants traveled as far north as Black Sand Beach above Northport.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council has taken a very significant step toward the vision of reintroducing salmon and steelhead above Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams. October adoption of their 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program, which directs more than $250 million per year to mitigate the impacts of hydropower dams on fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin, calls for studies to investigate passage and reintroduction of these fish that previously traveled to and from the Pacific before these two dams were built.

One of the most remarkable outcomes in discussions to modernize the Columbia River Treaty is whether to embrace and support anadromous salmon and other fish once again migrating the Columbia past Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams and into Canada.

The Grand Coulee Dam web site, www.usbr.gov/pn/grandcoulee, now includes a couple of videos taking you to the future and past.

A three minute video, “Revitalizing and Managing the Nation’s Powerhouse,” includes time lapse video of generators undergoing a $118 million upgrade to help preserve power benefits for another generation.

The Columbia River Basin 2014 Conference, Learning From Our Past to Shape Our Future, took place in Spokane, Washington on October 21—23. Hosted by the Columbia Basin Trust and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, over 300 people representing diverse Canadian, American and tribal interests participated.

For anyone who has visited Lake Roosevelt, they know that spotty cell service is the norm. As over 90 percent of U.S. adults have cell phones, making it the most quickly adopted consumer technology ever, that introduces both inconvenience and safety concerns.

It is a unique crossroads where many species of plants and animals coexist unlike anywhere else.” 

Sound familiar? The National Park Service (NPS) isn’t describing Lake Roosevelt; it’s describing the Niobrara (pronounced Ni-o-brear-ah) River. In 1991, Congress designated 76 miles of this 568 mile river stretching across Wyoming and Nebraska as a National Scenic River.  Flowing through the Great Plains, the Niobrara is a marvel of culture, history and environment.

  • Slide 1

    Four houseboats took 48 elected officials, opinion leaders, natural resource managers, stakeholders and concerned citizens on a day long house boat tour from Keller Ferry to Seven Bays Marina.

  • Slide 2

    Presentations on the RI/FS, fisheries, lake operations, shoreline management and other topics were given at stops. Here, Mitch Combs (WDFW), Brent Nichols (Spokane Tribe of Indians) and Holly McClellan (Colville Confederated Tribes) present on sport and native fisheries.

  • Slide 3

    Andy Dunau, the Forum’s Executive Director, introduces Mark Jensen (Grand Coulee Power Manager) to talk about Grand Coulee Dam and lake operations. Matt Wilkening with EPA is in background preparing to talk about the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS).

  • Slide 4

    Lyle Parker with Dakota Columbia provided the boats, captains and expert information on the up to 1.5 million people who visit Lake Roosevelt each year. Visit dakotacolumbia.com to learn more about rentals and great things to do.

  • Slide 5

    Wildlife viewing always makes a trip on Lake Roosevelt special. Said one participant, “Watching an eagle chasing an osprey with a fish was definitely the highlight.”

  • Slide 6

    More wildlife common to the area.

  • Slide 7

    Participants listening to a presentation at one of the stops.

  • Slide 8

    Stevens County Commissioner Steve Parker enjoys the day. Said one of the county commissioners, “As a new commissioner with over 100 miles of border with the Columbia I truly needed this view and information of the river and its’ projects and concerns."

  • Slide 9

    Geology and rock formations continuously change. Compare this with backgrounds of other slides from the show. You see dense stands of Ponderosa pine and high desert shrubs. They combine for a unique experience and ever changing views along the lake.

  • Slide 10

    Fran Marcus (Mayor of Marcus) and Dennis Jenson (Marcus Councilman) enjoy the day.

  • Slide 11

    Many thanks to the people who contributed to making this an enjoyable and very valuable day to learn about Lake Roosevelt and interact with the people who help preserve and protect it for all.

It’s been over seventy years since Grand Coulee Dam forever altered native fish migrations. With the completion of the new Barnaby Creek Culvert, the Colville Tribe, with funding from the Bonneville Power Administration, have taken another step towards returning kokanee and rainbow trout to their historic spawning grounds.