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Washington State Parks to offer two free days in April

Washington State Parks to offer two free days in April

 

Looking to go explore some Washington State Parks, but don't yet have a Discover Pass? Well, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will offer two free days in April.

 

Visitors will not need to display a Discover Pass for day-use visits to any of Washington's State Parks on April 4th, a springtime free Saturday, and Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22nd.

 

Free days are in keeping with legislation that created the Discover Pass, a $30 annual or $10 one-day permit required on recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This legislation provided that State Parks could designate up to 12 free days each year when the pass would not be required to visit state parks. 

 

A Discover Pass is still needed to access WDFW and DNR lands on State Park free days.

 

Steelhead and whitefish fisheries to close on the upper Columbia River and tributaries

Steelhead and whitefish fisheries to close on the upper Columbia River and tributaries

 

Steelhead and whitefish fisheries will close on the upper Columbia River and its tributaries one hour after official sunset on March 21st, 2015.

 

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the seasonal closure was put in effect to minimize impacts to spawning steelhead.

 

Locations affected by this closure are below:

  • Mainstream Columbia River: From Rock Island Dam upstream to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam.
  • Wenatchee River: From the mouth to the Wenatchee River 400 feet below the Tumwater Dam. This includes the Icicle River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.
  • Entiat River: From the mouth to approximately .5 miles upstream to a point perpendicular with the intersection of the Entiat River Road and Hedding Street.
  • Methow River: From the mouth to the confluence of the Chewuch River in Winthrop
  • Okanogan River: From the mouth to the High 97 Bridge in Oroville.
  • Similkameen River: From the mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam.

 

 

Wanapum Reservoir begins final refill after completed repairs

Wanapum Reservoir begins final refill after completed repairs

 

The Grant PUD began refilling the reservoir behind the Wanapum Dam on Tuesday, March 16th after a year of research, construction and collaboration was completed to repair a fracture in the dam's spillway.

 

Depending on river flows, the utility expects to be at normal river levels within the next two weeks. This is the last major milestone for this project, and the reservoir is expected to be fully restored to its pre-existing conditions for public access and utilization.

 

All Grant PUD boat launches and shorelines, with the exception of those areas under construction, will reopen to the public ahead of schedule. However, the PUD urges the public to use caution when accessing the reservoir due to fluctuating water levels and heed all warning signs.

 

Over the past year the utility has done the following during the project:

Shoreline program for Moses Lake under review

Shoreline program for Moses Lake under review

A program to manage shorelines in the city of Moses Lake is open for comment through the Washington Department of Ecology.

 

Moses Lake’s proposed shoreline program will guide construction and development on shorelines within the city limits, including the outfall of Crab Creek, Parker Horn, Pelican Horn, Lewis Horn, and various small bays and islands in the northern part of the lake.

 

According to the Washington Department of Ecology, shoreline programs are designed to help protect the shoreline environment, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and allow people access to public land and waters.

 

The public will be able to comment through March 4, 2015. After approval from Ecology, the shoreline program will become part of the overall state shoreline program.

 

Public asked to weigh in on six shoreline programs designed to protect water's edges in Grant County

Public asked to weigh in on six shoreline programs designed to protect water's edges in Grant County

Programs to manage shorelines in six cities and towns within Grant County are open for comment through the Washington Department of Ecology.

 

Coulee City, Electric City, Grand Coulee, Krupp, Soap Lake, and Wilson Creek joined Grant County in 2011 in a regional planning process to update each community’s shoreline program.

 

Grant County’s program received final approval in September 2014. Each of the cities and towns share environmental studies and an inventory of current shoreline conditions with the county. The communities’ then tailored portions of individual shoreline programs to meet local needs.

 

Shoreline programs are designed to help protect the shoreline environment, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and allow people access to public land and waters.

 

After approval from Ecology, the shoreline programs will become part of the overall state shoreline program.

 

Burn ban lifted for Okanogan County

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is lifting the burn ban for Okanogan County area of the Colville Reservation, and will continue the burn ban for the Yakama Reservation until further notice.
 
The burn ban applies to all outdoor and agricultural burning, including camping and recreational fires within reservation boundaries. Ceremonial and traditional fires are exempt from the outdoor burn ban.

EPA requests that reservation residents reduce all sources of air pollution, including excess driving and idling of vehicles, and the use of wood stoves and fireplaces, unless it is your only source of heat.

Wanapum Reservoir begins filling over coming weeks

After nearly 10 months of working around the clock to repair and strengthen Wanapum Dam’s spillway, Grant County PUD will soon be able to raise the reservoir behind the dam.

Subject to the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the river level will begin to gradually fill sometime between November 24 and December 11 based on river flows and structural-integrity measurements. When complete, the river will be restored approximately 17 feet above current levels.

This partial refill will take between six and 18 days to reach the target elevation. This increased reservoir level will allow fish ladders to resume normal operations and allow the utility greater flexibility in managing hydroelectric generation over the winter months.

While the reservoir increases, shoreline enforcement patrols will remain in effect and the Wanapum shoreline will remain closed. Once engineers, law enforcement, and cultural resource workers have determined it is safe to restore access to the shoreline, the utility will notify the public.