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Oct 20 , 2010
Clark Fork Newsletter
Post by Anna Scarlett

Avista recently published the second issue of our Clark Fork Newsletter, which goes out to stakeholders, customers, media and others interested in news about Avista’s Clark Fork Project. Our Clark Fork Project includes Cabinet Gorge and Noxon Rapids hydroelectric dams – the newsletter highlights natural resource, operational and community activities associate with the project. Articles in this issue include:

• New Transformers Go PCB-Free
• EWM: Invasive Species Wrap Up
• Clark Fork Faces: Mike Miller
• Management Committee Tours
• Resource Projects
• Hunters – Play Safe!
More information
Avista Blog, July 6, 2010: Clark Fork Project Newsletter launched
Published: 10/20/2010  4:31 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Aug 17 , 2010
play video
Post by Dan Kolbet

Hey, everyone. I wanted to share a quick clip of the video I took on the Spokane River last week.

This video shows the removal and relocation of accumulated rock, gravel and sediment at Monroe Street Dam. The crane grabs the materials and places them over the dam and back into the river. This material is the stuff that naturally flows downriver, but collects behind the dam.

My co-worker Communications Manager Anna Scarlett told me that analytical results of materials sampled back in July indicated that sediments were within Washington’s acceptable standards for contaminants. Relocation of the materials over the spillway back into the river is required by federal and state permits to operate the project, and redistributing the materials back into the river will allow them to continue to serve as a potential gravel source for spawning habitat in the Spokane River system.

More work on the river will continue in the next few weeks as we study whether channel modifications can be made to enhance aesthetic flows in the north and middle channels during periods of low river flow.
Published: 8/17/2010  2:10 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Mar 10 , 2010

A regional sports fishing television show will highlight Avista’s work in protecting natural resources associated with our Clark Fork and Spokane hydroelectric projects this spring and summer.

Columbia Country,” which airs Sunday afternoons on Fox stations throughout the northwest, is featuring two Avista projects as part of its “Safekeeping” segments. “Safekeeping” is a sponsored segment that highlights environmental activities, often focusing on efforts to protect and enhance fish habitat.

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.

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.

The Spokane segment features a new rainbow trout spawning study on the Spokane River, part of our new 50-year operating license for the five hydroelectric developments that make up Avista’s Spokane River Project. The spawning study is part of a ten-year collaboration with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 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.

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.

“Columbia Country” airs at 4 p.m. on Sunday on Spokane’s FOX-TV. (For other stations, check local listings). Or, you can see the segments here.
Published: 3/10/2010  2:51 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Jan 06 , 2010
Workers help banding on osprey.
Avista workers help collect
ospreys for banding as part
of a restoration project.
Post by Anna Scarlett

Recently, the Avista Foundation donated $2,500 to Birds of Prey Northwest for the construction of an eagle flight cage at the organization’s raptor rehabilitation facility near St. Maries, Idaho. In a few months, Avista employees led by Bob Beitz, Operations Manager for St. Maries and Kellogg, will set the poles and help build the flight cage.

It’s not the first time Avista has worked with Birds of Prey Northwest and its president/founder, Janie Fink. In fact, Fink has partnered with our own line workers in the protection and rescue of raptors.

“Several years ago we reached out to Jane to help us with problems we’d been having with osprey on our lines,” Beitz said.

Fink initially educated employees on raptors, and from there, the relationship continued. On several occasions, our St. Maries and Kellogg line crews have assisted her in collecting and banding baby ospreys as part of an osprey restoration program she leads.

This fall, Fink approached Beitz, who serves on the Avista Foundation Board of Directors, about a donation to Birds of Prey Northwest to update the rehab facility. An injured bird must go through physical therapy to treat its injury and build strength and flexibility for its return to the wild; this therapy includes flight exercise and flight tests. But the current aviary used for the flight exercise is too small for an eagle’s large wingspan, which can reach up to 8 feet wide for an adult.

Avista gave Birds of Prey Northwest $2,500, which, along with a pole donation from McFarland Cascade, will help Fink get the supplies to build the new cage. The flight cage will accommodate the largest raptor she cares for, but will be used to exercise all the birds.

Injured bird now Avista’s namesake
Meet "Avista"
Avista is a juvenile American
bald eagle with a damaged
During the grant process, Beitz visited the rehab facility, and as Fink was walking him through, a young American bald eagle drew their attention. The eagle, an adolescent that hasn’t matured enough to get its yellow-beak and white head, has a bad wing and can’t fly – it will be a permanent resident of the facility. Fink mentioned she hadn’t yet named the eagle.

Beitz suggested “Avista.”

“She looked at me and said ‘I think there was a reason we were waiting to name this eagle,’” he said.

So the young raptor became Avista. Avista joins Beauty, a bald eagle that lost her upper beak after she was shot by a poacher in Alaska, and who has since been fitted with a prosthetic beak so she can eat and preen, as well as various owls, hawks, falcons and ospreys either living at or being rehabilitated at the facility.

While her rehab facility is not open to the public, Fink, a raptor biologist and falconer, is currently seeking funding to build the Northwest Birds of Prey Center, a public education and raptor rehab center that will be located near Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Published: 1/6/2010  9:56 AM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

Nov 03 , 2009
A red-tailed hawk brought to Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine was released last week, and Avista was recognized for helping to make the raptor’s recovery successful.
The hawk, nicknamed “Burns” after the woman who found her, was extremely dehydrated and malnourished when she was brought to the Raptor Rehabilitation Center at WSU center over the summer.

After two months of nutrition and exercise in WSU’s newest raptor rehabilitation flight muse, Burns was ready to return home, which is likely nearby.

“She should have a territory here,” said Dr. Nickol Finch, who heads up the Raptor Rehabilitation Program at WSU. “She was found very close by. We were able to get her out quick enough, hopefully no other hawks will have moved in.”

Avista donated the time and materials for raptor platforms in the area, and was instrumental in renovating one of the old Carver Farm buildings into the new Raptor Rehabilitation Center on the Pullman campus. The project, completed last year, allowed the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital to continue its exceptional program in raptor research and rehabilitation.

Avista employees Paul Kimmell, Robin Bekkedahl, Tim Olson and Jenny Blaylock were on hand to watch the release. Kimmell expressed his gratitude for everyone’s generosity and noted the value of these established relationships as well as the creative approach to working with Washington State University.

“We’re thrilled to see the new rehab center’s efforts paying off,” Kimmell said.  “Partnering with this world-class center to help further efforts in raptor recovery and protection shows Avista is truly committed to the wellbeing of these majestic birds.”
Published: 11/3/2009  4:05 PM | 0  Comments | 0  Links to this post

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