May 30 , 2013
 
 
Over the past few years, we’ve heard from our customers that they want more information about how we do business in areas like utility operations, environmental stewardship and our community partnerships. Avista’s fifth annual report on our performance – our sustainability responsibility report -- is titled “Shared Value – Shared Success.”
 
Our purpose statement says, “To improve life’s quality with energy – safely, reliably and responsibly.”  Each year, our report provides a comprehensive look at what goes into providing that energy and how often this has additional benefits to the customers and communities we serve. That’s shared value.
 
In this year’s report, we tell many stories of how shared value is created throughout our business. We’ve added some great graphics to help illustrate some of the information, as well as links to videos and other online resources to give readers many different ways to get the most complete story possible.
 
As part of our sustainable business practices, the report is published only online. But a PDF file can be downloaded for your convenience in reading the report or sharing it with others.
 
Shared value is at the heart of what Avista does every day. We hope you’ll take the time to read this year’s report and give us your feedback by email at SharedValue@avistacorp.com. We want to hear from you about how we can continue to build shared value and shared successes.

 
Published: 5/30/2013  9:46 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

May 11 , 2012
video
 
Team sorts, reuses and recycles materials

Post by Dan Kolbet

Environmental Stewardship
Nearly every time an Avista crew goes into the field to fix a power line or natural gas pipeline, there are materials left over from the job. That material might not be usable again or it could just be outdated – but more than likely it’s not trash.

That’s where Avista’s Investment Recovery team steps in. When our crews return from the field, they drop off their materials for sorting. Investment Recovery decides what can be reused, recycled or salvaged. In 2011 alone, Avista recycled nearly two million pounds of material and metals including items like aluminum, copper and iron. That’s a whole lot of materials that don’t end up in landfills.

“One of the main reasons Investment Recovery exists is be good stewards of the environment,” said April Spacek, Manager of Materials Management. “It’s well worth it to Avista to put a strong effort in this area to help return value to the business and avoid generating large volumes of trash.”

Once material is returned, it’s sorted by employees from ARC of Spokane who take great pride in their work. It’s a win-win for environmental stewardship, while providing jobs for developmentally disabled members of our community.

Each morning the Investment Recovery warehouse is buzzing with a tremendous amount of activity as workers breakdown materials with hammers, screwdrivers, vises and other implements.

The reusable material is inspected or repaired, then returned to the Avista warehouse for the next job. Recycled materials are packaged and picked up by a local recycling outfit.

“Doing our part for the environment is just the right thing to do, ” said Investment Recovery Coordinator Barry Pasicznyk. “We’ve been doing this work at Avista for quite some time now and it’s a great thing.”

Take a look at the video above to see the sights and sounds of Investment Recovery.
Published: 5/11/2012  10:52 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

May 11 , 2012
video
 
Spokane River and Clark Fork River work targets fish survival, habitat and doing the right thing

Environmental Stewardship
If you’ve ever dipped a fishing rod into any of our local lakes or rivers you’re already aware of the great natural resources we enjoy in the Northwest. Because Avista operates hydroelectric facilities on the Clark Fork and Spokane rivers, we’ve made a commitment to the environment as part of our daily operations throughout Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

Two great examples of Avista’s commitment to environmental stewardship are reducing invasive lake trout in Lake Pend Oreille and studying rainbow trout spawning on the Spokane River. These projects were featured in a 2010 “Safekeeping” segment of the Columbia Country television program which aired on Fox stations.

Clark Fork River
The Clark Fork Project segment features an ongoing collaborative project on Lake Pend Oreille to reduce the population of invasive lake trout. Lake Pend Oreille was once a world-class fishery for rainbow trout, bull trout and kokanee. In recent years, the lake has been taken over by lake trout (also called mackinaw), which do not coexist well with native bull trout, and which prey on kokanee, depleting the food sources for rainbow and bull trout. This project offers angler incentives and brings in commercial netters to “fish out” the invasive lake trout. Since this program’s inception more than 139,000 lake trout have been removed from the lake.

Avista helps fund the Lake Pend Oreille project through our Clark Fork Project license, which includes Noxon Rapids Dam in Montana and Cabinet Gorge Dam in northern Idaho.

Spokane River
The Spokane segment features a rainbow trout spawning study on the Spokane River, part of our 50-year operating license for the five hydroelectric developments that make up Avista’s Spokane River Project. The spawning study is part of a 10-year collaboration with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to better understand the relationship between river flow and the rainbow trout population and their spawning habitat from Monroe Street Dam downstream to Nine Mile Dam.

In each of the last two years, in partnership with WDFW, we’ve captured and tagged more than 800 rainbow trout in the river below the Monroe Street Dam downstream to the Nine Mile Reservoir. This part of the 10-year study is to understand how many trout are in the Spokane River and the habitat they use. We will capture and tag rainbow trout again this October.

A similar project has been in effect for several years in the Upper Spokane River, and we hope this project will help us better understand how managing river flows affects water levels in Lake Coeur d’Alene and habitat for rainbow trout downstream. By doing so, we hope to ultimately encourage growth of the rainbow trout population in the Spokane River.

Both of these projects show how Avista works with others to care for the natural resources affected by our projects. They are great examples of how we make our commitment to environment part of our daily operations throughout Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.
Published: 5/11/2012  10:41 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

May 11 , 2012
slideshow

Post by Brandi Smith

Aesthetic flows in Spokane River
Avista’s work on the Spokane River aesthetic flows project was completed in October of 2011. The project took place in the river in downtown Spokane and received a lot of attention from curious onlookers last summer.

The reason behind the project wasn’t just about looks, as the name suggests. While the overall goal was to create a cascading waterfall effect through the channels of the Spokane River that run north and south of Canada Island, the work was related to the aesthetic spills requirement of our Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license.

In 2009, Avista was issued a new 50-year license by FERC to operate our five hydroelectric dams on the Spokane River (Post Falls, Upper Falls, Monroe Street, Nine Mile and Long Lake). The purpose of the aesthetic flows project was to return the river’s channels to a more natural state, the way they were before early developers in Spokane cut into the bedrock to divert water during dry times.

Weirs, which are concrete structures, were installed in the riverbed to divert water. Before construction on the project began, Avista brought together several stakeholder groups, including the Washington Department of Ecology, The Sierra Club, and others, to take part in a pilot test for the project using sandbags as temporary weirs to divert the water. The feedback we received helped us determine the placement for the permanent weirs.

Land Expressions LLC, was awarded the contact and did an outstanding job constructing the weirs to match the natural basalt bedrock as much as possible, including consideration for the existing terrain’s texture and color.

In addition to providing aesthetic attributes, the project will accommodate fish passage at various water flow levels that are determined by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Ecology. During the project, fish biologists and contractors were on site, relocating fish safely downstream due to the river flow being temporarily stopped while the weirs are constructed.

Now that the project is complete, water flows more evenly throughout the two channels of the river and produces a more pleasing flow of water through Riverfront Park. This time of year the work isn’t too noticeable because flows are so high, but come summer time, take a stroll through Riverfront Park and check out the river’s new look.
Published: 5/11/2012  10:30 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post