Washington Water Watch 
August 2016

In This Issue
Spokane River PCB Case Update
Business Spotlight - ROW Adventures
Volunteer Spotlight - Gwyn Perry
CELP in the Community
Water in Your Backyard
Keep Our Rivers Flowing!
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Upcoming Events
September 16-17
Salmon Homecoming Celebration

The 24th Annual Salmon Homecoming Celebration will be held on Friday-Saturday, September 16-17 at Waterfront Park in Seattle. Visit the CELP booth to become a member and take the Washington Rivers challenge! 
Dear Members of CELP -
Summer is winding down, and hopefully cooler weather is headed our way. Seattle continues to break heat records, and many parts of the state are experiencing wildfires due to the warm and dry weather. Climate change continues to impact our state and its water resources, yet many rivers and streams around the state still lack protected instream flows, which provide water rights for fish and other instream resources. Instream flow protections are critical for salmon recovery, water quality, navigation and recreation. That's why CELP's mission to protect and restore Washington's water resources is so important.
We are the only statewide organization doing this work, but we can't do it alone. We rely heavily on our fabulous volunteers. Several of them are highlighted in this issue, but there are many more including our board and advisors. CELP would like to give a big thank you to all of our volunteers. We can't thank you enough!
In this issue we have a recap of our outreach events this summer, a legal update, an article on our volunteer Gwyn Perry, a feature on ROW, a recreation business on the Spokane River, and more.
CELP continues to work tirelessly to protect Washington's freshwater resources and ensure wise and sustainable water management for future generations, but we can't do it alone. We rely on donations from our loyal supporters like you to be able to respond to threats like this year's drought. Please consider making a donation today on our secure website, www.celp.org.  

Best water wishes,                         

Trish Rolfe
Executive Director

P.S. If you are interested in volunteering your time or if you would like to join CELP's Board of Directors please contact me at the email address above.

Appeals Court to Department of Ecology: Clean up Spokane River PCB Pollution
by John Osborn

On August 16, the Washington State Court of Appeals issued the third legal decision in favor of Spokane River advocates seeking to stop more PCBs from being added to the Spokane River from the Spokane County's wastewater treatment facility. Three courts have now rules that the Department of Ecology ("Ecology") failed to do what the law requires: analyze whether the County's discharge of PCBs has potential to violate state water quality standards, and if so, then impose appropriate limits to prevents such violations. The Appeals Court left intact an earlier ruling that the Spokane River Toxics Task Force is not an adequate or legal substitute for pollution control limits.

The Spokane River - photo by John Osborn
Sierra Club and the Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CELP) filed the lawsuit against Ecology in 2011, and praised the Court's ruling. "The Court decision is another important step to clean up PCBs polluting the Spokane River," said Rachael Paschal Osborn, with Sierra Club and CELP.

In rejecting the appeal by Ecology and Spokane County, the Appeals Court stands with earlier decisions holding that the 2011 permit violates the Clean Water Act because it lacks any limit on PCB discharges, and that other terms of the permit are vague and unenforceable. The Board remanded the permit back to Ecology to do over.

The Spokane River is among Washington State's most contaminated rivers for PCBs. Exposure to PVBs through ingestion of Spokane River fish represents a public health hazard. In 2008, the Washington State Department of Health issued fish consumption advisories, recommending limited or no consumption of fish from Lake Roosevelt and the Spokane River.

Peter Grubb and Betsy Bowen, owners of
ROW Adventures
Rivers Mean Business: ROW Adventures
"The importance of the Spokane River to those living and recreating in the area cannot be overstated. In fact, I believe that the Spokane River offers the best natural whitewater experience available in a major U.S. city. It offers a white water experience that is accessible to a broad cross-section of users, from beginning rafters to experienced whitewater paddlers."
     - Peter Grubb, ROW Adventures

Rivers support entire economies in the Northwest. Rafting companies are included. Among those is ROW Adventures. 
ROW Adventures started in 1979 with a love of rivers and outfitting. As ROW founder Peter Grubb writes on the company website, "ROW Adventures is the life passion of myself and wife, Betsy Bowen. For over 36 years we have poured our heart and soul into creating adventure travel experience that enrich lives and exceed expectations." Almost every year, ROW has added trip offerings, even including international trips. In 2012, ROW was named
Travel & Leisure Magazine's World's Best Awards as the Number One Tour Operator.  
ROW recognizes the link between river recreation and river advocacy. The company's goal? Connecting "people in a meaningful and personally relevant way to the places we visit. We work to inspire guests to become actively involved in, and advocates for, the preservation and conservation of the places they visit." 
ROW advocates to protect Spokane River flows
Washington State, through its Department of Ecology, too often exploits rivers than protecting them, also disregarding businesses and jobs that depend on healthy rivers.  Rivers like the Spokane have a voice only through those willing to speak on behalf of clean, flowing waters. ROW, as a river-based business, uses the opportunity to link people to rivers, and help give voice to the voiceless.

ROW began offering rafting trips on the Spokane River in 2009. The Spokane River trips are an important part of ROW's business, with up to 2000 clients a year. ROW, based in Coeur d'Alene, actually opened an office in Spokane and registered as a business in Washington State because of the Spokane River.
In 2014 ROW stepped up to help protect Spokane River flows. River flows are essential for business and jobs, and the lifeblood of the Spokane River. 

 "Prior to adoption of the Spokane River Instream Flow Rule, I submitted extensive comments on the proposed rule," noted Grubb, ROW's founder. "I was quite disappointed that the Department of Ecology flatly disregarded my concerns, as well as those of other Spokane-area recreational operators, in the final rule. The rule that was established sets flows that are so low that they will have a significant effect on my business and on my employees in Washington, now and in the future."
Spokane River supports regional tourism economy, jobs
Cycling tours along the Spokane River's Centennial Trail is another part of ROW's expanded business model. The Centennial Trail is a paved walking and bicycling trail that in Washington State extends nearly 40 miles from Nine Mile Falls to the Idaho border -- along the Spokane River. "The River views, particularly views of the waterfalls and the Bowl and Pitcher area, are major attractions along this route and are a large part of the reason that visitors book our tours. I believe that low river flows are very damaging to the aesthetic beauty of these places," noted Grubb.
Grubb notes that the failure by the State of Washington through its Department of Ecology to protect river flows for the Spokane River needs to be corrected: "The Spokane River is a critical part of this area's lifestyle and economy, and a major tourist draw. In my opinion, Ecology should consider the impact of Spokane River flows on recreation, employment, and tourism in reconsidering the Instream Flow Rule for the Spokane River."

Volunteer Spotlight - Gwyneth Perry

by  Elan Ebeling & Gwyn Perry

This spring and summer, CELP has been lucky enough to have the help of an amazing volunteer, Gwyneth Perry. From scanning old hard copy files and issues of Washington Water Watch into our digital database to volunteering at Celebrate Water and outreach events, Gwyn has truly been a wonderful asset to CELP!

What is your first memory of water conservation, or conservation in general?
Gwyn and Jackie manning the CELP booth at the Stillaguamish Festival of the River
I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, where my father was involved in wetland restoration projects. He would frequently take me out to clean up a wetland close to where we lived. This instilled in me a passion for conservation. 

How did you hear about CELP?
I became interested in Washington environmental policy after taking a Water Law class from Bob Anderson at the University of Washington in Spring 2015. At the time, I was in school for my masters in Civil Engineering, studying Hydrology. I heard about CELP that same quarter, when Tom Fox, (a longtime CELP supporter and volunteer) came to speak to my Watershed Management course. I connected with CELP's purpose, and after I graduated I started volunteering for CELP. One of my favorite things about volunteering with CELP has been the wonderful, enthusiastic people who work there.  
What do you do when you're not volunteering for CELP?
When not volunteering for CELP, you can find me hiking or playing in the water with my dog. I am employed as a water resources designer, and, happily, am currently working on a fish passage project. 
CELP's booth at the Duwamish River Festival on August 20th
CELP in the Community

by Elan Ebeling
"What river is that?"
"What's the deal with instream flows, anyway?"
"I'm from Spokane and I remember when the falls were dried up. How great to see the water come back."

These were just a few of the questions and comments and questions I received at CELP's second outreach event this month. As part of our increased outreach activities in 2016, CELP set up booths at two events in August themed around celebrating local rivers. The first was the Stillaguamish Festival of the River and Pow Wow held in Arlington on August 13-14. CELP also sponsored the Duwamish River Festival/Festival del Rio Duwamish held on August 20 in Seattle's South Park neighborhood. These events have given us the opportunity to share CELP's story, raise awareness about our work and its importance, and sign community members up to get more involved.
We are thrilled to be a part of these events alongside other community groups and organizations celebrating our local waterways. Stop by the CELP booth on September 16 at the Salmon Homecoming Celebration in downtown Seattle!
We are looking for volunteers to help us man the CELP community booth! If you are interested in volunteering at an outreach event, please email Elan at development@celp.org.

Native to the Pacific Coast, Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) is a great choice for a drought tolerant ground cover
Water in Your Backyard - Gardening with Native and Drought Tolerant Plants 

by Elan Ebeling

Summer is coming to a close - while Washington State avoided the severity of the drought we experienced last year, about a third of Washington's rivers are registering at below-normal flows. Despite worsening water shortages, however, in the United States 30-60% of urban freshwater water still goes to watering lawns. In addition, up to 50% of this water is ultimately wasted due to inefficient irrigation systems, wind, or evaporation. As climate change continues to intensify and water becomes increasingly scarce, more and more people are looking for low-water alternatives in their own yards. 

Switching to gardening with native or drought tolerant plants is fast becoming one of the most popular of these alternatives, and for good reason. There are many benefits to landscaping with native plants. Native plants are adapted to local environments and conditions, and so require far less maintenance and water. When well-established, they can control erosion by holding the soil with their roots, thereby reducing water runoff and flooding. In addition to saving water, native plants also support clean waterways - native plants resist native pests and diseases better than non-native species, reducing the need for fertilizer and pesticides, which can often end up in nearby rivers and streams. 

Pacific bleeding heart is a native perennial that will attract hummingbirds and butterflies
Native plants also have a huge role to play in the biodiversity of local environments. Native plant species provide important habitat for insects, pollinators, birds, and other animals crucial to local ecosystems. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, planting native plants (especially if you live by a river) can directly benefit salmon by attracting insects that salmon feed on. Check out this guide to planting a salmon friendly garden from Seattle Public Utilities.

In addition to native plants, there are also many good options for non-native drought tolerant plants - Washington State University provides an excellent guide and index of drought tolerant plants: Drought Tolerant Landscaping for Washington State.

Fall/winter is a great time to plant native and drought tolerant plants. As August comes to a close and we experience the last heat of summer, peruse the guides listed below, head down to your local nursery, and plan your low-water landscape. Washington's rivers and streams will thank you come next summer!

Resources for gardening with native and drought tolerant plants:

Member Photo Submission

The Dungeness River - submitted by CELP Volunteer Attorney Steve Farquhar

Have a photo or story you want to share about your favorite river? Please submit them to Elan at development@celp.org.

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.