City takes step to study impacts on redbands:

Planning Department Issues a DS for Whitewater Park

A State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Threshold Determination of Significance (DS) for the Whitewater Park Shoreline Conditional Use Permit was issued on July 13, 2009. The Determination of Significance requires the development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by the applicant (Spokane Parks and Recreation). The DS has a 14 day appeal period (July 30th) and a 21 day Scoping Comment period (August 6th).

As stated in the DS, the purpose of the EIS will be to address impacts to fish habitat, maintenance and monitoring of the structure, and dewatering impacts.

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   Dr. Paul Quinett


Protect the Wild Redband Trout!

Click here for SFTU’s comments on the proposed Environmental Impact Statement.

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

The City of Spokane has proposed placing a massive concrete and rock structure into the riverbed near Sandifur Bridge as a feature for a whitewater park to provide play-boating for kayaks. 

Spokane Falls Trout Unlimited (SFTU) supports safe, healthy recreation on the lower Spokane River. However, SFTU is concerned that this project may damage a vulnerable population of wild trout that is already affected by water flows, pollution, poaching and other impacts.

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

We can’t endorse the project as currently envisioned and urge others who care about the river and its fisheries to express concerns. 

Please make your voice heard on an issue that may have a lasting impact on populations of wild trout in the lower Spokane River.

Please oppose the construction of the park unless the following conditions are met:

1.  Constructed whitewater park features must be shown to provide fish passage at every flow level;

2.  It must have no impacts on current spawning habitat;

3.  The feature must be built in a completely dewatered construction zone to prevent pollutants from entering the river during construction; 

4.  Long term liability and maintenance responsibilities—including financial costs-- must be clearly defined;

5.  Long-term studies must be required to monitor negative impacts on fish and the health of the river;

6.  If these conditions cannot be met, the whitewater park should not be built under the current design and/or in the proposed location

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

For more info contact SFTU President Harvey Morrison at

Other Links

 - Washington Council of TU
 - Trout Unlimited
 - Washington Dept of Fish & 

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Log, site of proposed White Water Park, raises unasked and unanswered questions about who pays for liability and maintenance - and impacts on redbands.

Log approximately 40 feet long that is wedged into the center pier of the Sandifur Bridge which is where the proposed white water park will be built. The log was deposited during high water of 2009 and was an under water hazard until the recent drop in flows. (photo:  Harvey Morrison, July 3, 2009)