Washington Water Watch 
April 2017

In This Issue
Columbia River Settlement
Watersheds to Watch: Hangman (Latah) Creek
Paddle the Hanford Reach
Celebrate Water
Keep Our Rivers Flowing!
Help ensure clean and flowing waters in Washington State by making a gift to CELP!

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Upcoming Events
May 10
CELP will once again be participating in the Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG day on Wednesday, May 10th. Join Seattle's largest community giving day of the year by donating to CELP on May 10th or scheduling a gift in advance starting April 29th on the GiveBIG website!
May 13 & 14
Paddle the Hanford Reach
This May, CELP Board Member and experienced paddler John Roskelley will lead two guided kayak tours of the Hanford Reach section of the Columbia River.
Buy tickets here.
June 15
Celebrate Water
5:30-7:30 pm
Ivar's Salmon House
CELP's annual fundraising event will be held on Thursday, June 15th. This year we will be honoring John Osborn with the Ralph W Johnson Water Hero Award. 
Buy tickets here.
Happy Earth Month!

Dear Friends of CELP -

Happy Earth Month! Each April 22nd we celebrate our natural environment, and the work that is being done to protect it and preserve it. 47 years ago dedicated men and women came together to raise public consciousness about air and water pollution, and build public support for environmental protection. Much has changed since 1970, and over the years many environmental protections were put into place. Today, however, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency as the effects of climate change become more evident every day and t he Trump Administration launches unprecedented attacks on our environment by rolling back environmental rules and regulations that protect our air and water.

cartoon by Milt Priggee
These attacks could have detrimental effects on Washington's waters, and the people and fish that rely on clean and abundant waters. That's why CELP's work for the sustainable management of Washington's water resources is so important and urgent.
In this issue, you'll find an article on the Hangman Creek Watershed, CELP's upcoming events, and more.
We are able to do this work because of the continued support from our loyal members like you. If you haven't renewed your membership for 2017, do it today by donating on our secure website, www.celp.org.


Trish Rolfe
Executive Director

PS.  I hope everybody celebrates by getting outside to experience Washington's amazing rivers and streams!  

Columbia River - WA Dept of Ecology
CELP Receives $200,000 from Columbia Riverkeeper Clean Water Act Lawsuit Settlement

by Trish Rolfe

CELP has a long history of working to protect the Columbia River Watershed, and now thanks to Columbia Riverkeeper, we can do even more work. Last week the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Washington entered an agreement settling a Clean Water Act case between Columbia Riverkeeper and Sandvik Special Metals, LLC.
This case began in 2015, after Sandvik reported that it discharged more ammonia and fluoride into the Columbia River than the company's water pollution permit allowed. Under the agreement, Sandvik will update its water pollution control technology and fund several substantial projects to improve water quality in the Columbia River and its tributaries in Eastern Washington.

CELP was selected to receive funding from this settlement to work protect and restore streamflow and water quality in the mid-Columbia River basin to support endangered salmon and steelhead, other aquatic life, and recreational opportunities. The Columbia River, many of its tributaries, and their aquatic resources are negatively impacted by low or altered streamflow. Low streamflow causes or exacerbates many of the water quality problems that impact aquatic life in the Columbia River basin, such as high water temperatures, low dissolved oxygen levels, and high concentrations of pollutants.
CELP's work to protect water quantity and streamflow in the mid-Columbia basin will consist of:
1. CELP's Mid-Columbia Basin Instream Flows Initiative

Water quantity and water quality are closely connected, especially with respect to water temperature. Setting enforceable minimum instream flow requirements in tributaries of the Columbia River will help protect water quality in these tributaries and ensure that endangered Columbia River salmon and steelhead have adequate spawning and rearing habitat. Increasing instream flow in Columbia River tributaries could also enhance thermal refugia in the mainstream Columbia River at the mouth of these tributaries, which are used by migrating adult salmon and steelhead.

The State of Washington is obligated, under statutory programs, the public trust doctrine, and U.S.-Tribal treaties, to protect and sustainably manage river flows. Since 1969, state law has explicitly directed state agencies to adopt rules to protect instream flows for public benefit in each watershed. Nonetheless, formal instream flow protections have been adopted for only one-third of Washington's watershed. Many of the remaining unprotected watersheds are tributaries to the Mid-Columbia River in central Washington.

CELP's Mid-Columbia Basin Instream Flows Initiative would examine which Columbia River tributaries in central Washington currently do not have mandated minimum instream flows. Some of the unprotected tributaries in the Mid-Columbia basin include the Wind, White Salmon, Klickitat, Palouse, Pend Oreille, and Sanpoil rivers, and Rock and Glade creeks.

Read the Tri-City Herald's coverage here

Hangman Creek - photo by WA Dept. of Ecology
Watersheds to Watch: WRIA 56 Hangman (Latah)

by Elan Ebeling

Hangman or Latah Creek, originates in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Idaho, and flows across the border into Washington, where it stretches through the city of Spokane and joins with the Spokane River. WRIA 56 encompasses the section of the creek in Washington State, starting from the border with Idaho.
The Hangman Creek Watershed has a long history of agriculture. In the early part of the 20th century, thousands of acres of forest were cleared for farming. Modifications to straighten stream channels, and new irrigation channels and ditches resulted in erosion, poor water quality and increased flash flooding that continues in the present day.
Agriculture continues to be the most significant use of land in the Hangman Creek Watershed (about 65%), and a century of heavy farming and population growth has taken its toll on water quantity, quality, and fisheries. According to the  Hangman Creek Water Resources Management Plan, during the summer months, the average flow is below 3 cfs. Low flows also contribute to temperature and water quality issues. Hangman Creek has been described as "one of the most degraded waterbodies in eastern Washington State," and fails to meet Washington State water quality standards for temperature, fecal coliform, and pH. In addition, the degraded water from Hangman Creek flows into the Spokane River every year along with heavy sediment from erosion, contributing to algae blooms and other water quality issues on the Spokane.
Although the creek's native name Latah means "fish" in Nez Perce, few remain in Hangman Creek. As a result of the region's long history of agriculture, fish habitat has gone through dramatic changes in the last century. While Hangman Creek once had healthy populations of native redband trout, salmon, and steelhead, the alterations made to vegetation patterns and channels to accommodate farming, as well as increased sediment and temperature in the river has resulted in heavily reduced populations of trout, and near nonexistent populations of other game fish.
These problems have been exacerbated by the proliferation of domestic permit exempt wells, and the over allocation of water rights. Ecology's Water Availability Report states that the Department of Fish and Wildlife has limited most surface water sources in Hangman Creek through Surface Water Source Limitations, and that the majority of water has already been appropriated.
An instream flow rule for WRIA 56 is crucial to the future of Hangman Creek to protect critical fish habitat and combat worsening water quality, yet none exists. The Hangman Creek Watershed Planning Unit was unable to come to a consensus on exact values for instream flow recommendations by the time their 2005 Watershed Management Plan was published, but agreed that they wanted an instream flow rule. What's more, their plan stated that they would notify Ecology if a consensus could not be reached in the next phase of planning, and expected Ecology to complete the process and enact a rule if necessary.
Despite the completion of an instream flow study on Hangman Creek, no rule exists for WRIA 56, and information on the current status of rulemaking is sparse. Although setting instream flows will not solve Hangman Creek's severe pollution and erosion issues, it is critical to preserve what little water remains, as population growth predictions and increased demand for water resources only point to more issues in the future. As acknowledged by the WRIA 56 planning unit, rulemaking is ultimately the responsibility of the Department of Ecology. CELP urges Ecology to act now to develop an instream flow rule to protect the Hangman Creek watershed.

If you are interested in helping to secure protections for the Hangman Creek watershed, please email CELP at contact@celp.org.

Support CELP on Give BIG!

This year, CELP will once again participate in the Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG day on
Wednesday, May 10th ! Now more than ever, it is imperative that we protect our rivers and streams from a changing climate. Help CELP fight Trump's agenda to rollback environmental protections here in Washington State by donating to CELP on May 10th or scheduling a gift in advance starting on April 29th on the GiveBIG website

Paddle the Hanford Reach with CELP Board Member and World Famous Adventurer John  Roskelley! 

Go on a kayaking adventure to benefit the environment! This May, CELP Board Member and renowned mountaineer and paddler, John Roskelley, will be leading two kayak tours of the Hanford Reach segment of the Columbia River to benefit CELP. The Hanford Reach is the last non-tidal, free-flowing section of the Columbia River in the United States. The tour will launch at 9 a.m., and take paddlers 19 miles from Vernita Bridge to the White Bluffs WDFW Boat Launch. Depending on the speed of the water, the trip will take five to six hours. 

Kayaks, paddles, and life jackets provided. Some paddling experience required. 

Limited spots available on Saturday, May 13th or Sunday, May 14th. *Spots are limited for this event and tickets are expected to sell out fast*

Tickets are $150 per person. All proceeds will benefit the Center for Environmental Law & Policy's work to protect Washington's rivers and streams.

Contact Elan Ebeling at development@celp.org with any questions.

SAVE THE DATE: Celebrate Water on June 15th!

On  June 15th , CELP will host its annual Celebrate Water event to commemorate another successful year of CELP's work in Washington State and present the
Ralph W. Johnson Award to John Osborn. 

June 15th 5:30 - 7 pm
Ivar's Salmon House
401 NE Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98105
Pre-reception CLE (topic and speaker TBA): 4:00 - 5:00 pm 

Dr. John Osborn is a legendary environmental leader of the Pacific Northwest, whose career as an advocate for the waters and forests of our region spans more than three decades. His current efforts include co-coordinating the Ethics & Treaty Project, which seeks to infuse principles of stewardship and justice into the re-negotiation of the Columbia River Treaty. 

CELP has some new faces at our downtown office! Meet Leo and Petra, Staff Attorney Dan Von Seggern's new puppies. Leo enjoys napping and chewing on shoelaces, and Petra spends her free time perusing the contents of the garbage can. Both love rivers!

Thanks for taking the time to read Washington Water Watch!  Thanks to your help, CELP has accomplished much but, as you can see, more needs to be done. You can support our work by making a donation online here, or mailing a check to: 

85 S Washington St #301, Seattle, WA 98104 

The Center for Environmental Law & Policy is a statewide organization whose mission is to protect, preserve and restore Washington's waters through education, policy reform, agency advocacy, and public interest litigation.

If you care about a future with water, please become a CELP member today!
You can reach us at:  206-829-8299 or  email us .