Cultural Resources

Avista works with tribes, local and state historic preservation offices, advisory councils, and other interested stakeholders to identify, protect and manage cultural resources associated with our Clark Fork and Spokane River hydroelectric projects, as well as with facilities and projects throughout our service territory.

Our commitment to enhancing relationships with the area’s indigenous people is reflected in the company’s appointment of a full-time Tribal liaison. Avista’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license to operate our Spokane River Project, issued in June 2009, comprehensively resolved numerous issues that had divided Avista and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, in particular, for a century, including those pertaining to land use, water use, potential trespass, resource usage and Tribal sovereignty. The Tribe agrees with Avista that these agreements have fostered a mutual spirit of cooperation and trust that will allow Avista and the Tribe to work together over the term of the new license and beyond to ensure continued efficient operation of an important hydroelectric resource. At the same time, the agreements protect and enhance the Tribe’s natural and cultural resources and provide the Tribe with appropriate compensation for Avista’s use of its land and waters.

In 2010, as part of our 4(e) conditions of the FERC license to operate our Spokane River Project, we developed a cultural resource management plan in cooperation with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, and monitored cultural resources within the boundaries of the Coeur d’Alene Reservation.

The Clark Fork Management Committee, which oversees implementation activities for the FERC license to operate Avista’s Clark Fork Project, reviewed and monitored implementation activities (especially ground-disturbing activities) that had the potential to impact cultural or historic resources within the boundaries of the Clark Fork Project. The committee also completed annual field monitoring of existing cultural sites, as it has done for over ten years.

Several Avista facilities have been identified as having historic importance and as eligible for listing on the National Historic Register. As part of our Spokane River FERC license, in 2010, we developed and submitted two Historical Properties Management Plans, one for Washington and one for Idaho. We also worked closely with state and tribal historic preservation officers as appropriate on construction projects in our service territory.