March 6th- Honoring the Spokane River & flow champions

Join us at our annual Winter Waters to celebrate our rivers, honor Spokane River instream flow champions, and support the essential water advocacy of CELP and Sierra Club’s Upper Columbia River Group.

Summary: Winter Waters is jointly hosted by the Upper Columbia River Group of Sierra Club and CELP. This year we are honoring the Spokane River and Flow Champions. The event will also launch a statewide campaign to protect a clean, flowing Spokane River.

When: Friday, March 6th, 2020 6:00 pm- 9:00 pm 
Where: Spokane’s Historic Patsy Clark Mansion, 2208 W. 2nd Ave

Tickets: $40 per person $70 for two (purchase online or at the door-please RSVP)

To RSVP or help with the event contact

Winter Waters 2020 will honor Spokane River Flow Champions

Last summer, we challenged the Department of Ecology’s inadequate instream flow rule for the Spokane River’s summertime flows. Washington State Court of Appeals Division II ruled in favor of Spokane River advocates, finding the Washington Department of Ecology failed to protect summertime flows needed by the river, and thousands of boaters, fishers, anglers, and businesses.  (Read more here.)

This year’s Winter Waters honors four individuals and their organizations for their part in advocating for the Spokane River and providing their expertise on the impact of low instream flows. Awards are presented by the Upper Columbia River Group of Sierra Club.

American Whitewater- Thomas O’Keefe

Tom O’Keefe is the Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director for American Whitewater, where he’s worked to protect the wild rivers of our region since 1995.  Tom designed a boater survey for the Spokane River that painted a precise picture of how the amount of water flowing the river affects the rafting experience.   American Whitewater has been our co-plaintiff in the Spokane River flow rule case since 2015.  

ROW Adventures- Peter Grubb

Peter founded ROW (“Rivers Odyssey West”) Adventures in 1981, a river running company based on a “paramount love for nature” and a used school bus.  In 40 years ROW has grown into Idaho’s largest active travel company, with adventure and multisport travel itineraries through the world.  But, the Spokane River is home for Peter and spouse Betsy, so he didn’t hesitate to serve as a witness in our instream flow challenge.  Peter testified to the damaging impact of low flows on his business, and concluded that “The Spokane River is a critical part of this area’s lifestyle and economy, and a major tourist draw.”

Silver Bow Fly Shop- Sean Visintainer

Sean bought the Silver Bow shop in 2005, where he sells everything the angler needs and specializes in guide trips on the Spokane River.   Sean is always quick to help with Spokane River advocacy.  Sean testified about the impact of the Spokane River on his business, and how less water translates to less income.  “Having this blue ribbon fishery located in an urban area is unique to Spokane. There are very few places where one can experience the thrill of catching wild trout in such a spectacular setting without the need for travel outside the city.”

FLOW Adventures- Jon Wilmot

Jon and spouse Jeanie founded FLOW (“For Love Of Water”) Adventures in 2005 to provide and support rafting, tubing and kayak trips on the Spokane River, providing safe access to the River’s luscious cold water during those hot summer days.  Jon jumped in with both feet to help with our lawsuit.  Jon’s testimony described how flows affect rafting and tubing experiences on the Spokane River, activities enjoyed both by both residents and tourists.  Jon noted “The Spokane River is a critical amenity for the City of Spokane … I am not aware of any other city that has this kind of local whitewater experience available to visitors.”

Descriptions of our honorees from Sierra Club Upper Columbia River Group Nature’s Advocate Newsletter (Feb. 2020)

Unfortunately, the State has asked the Washington Supreme Court to review the Spokane River instream flow case. We are working hard to ensure the Spokane River remains protected, but we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

Winter Waters 2020 will also launch Sierra Club’s statewide campaign to protect a clean, flowing Spokane River

“The Spokane River is a critical amenity for the city of Spokane and the surrounding area, and is one of the most popular recreational features of the area. . . . I am not aware of any other city that has this kind of local whitewater experience available to visitors. I depend on the River for a major portion of my business, and my ability to operate on the River is dependent on adequate instream flows.”

– Peter Grubb, ROW Adventures, court deposition in support of protecting Spokane River flows

Spokane River 2020 Campaign calls to action below. More information here.

Join us at Winter Waters on March 6th to celebrate river advocacy

music – small foods – desserts – wines

This event wouldn’t be possible without our generous sponsors. Thank you!
Upper Columbia United Tribes
– Eymann Allison Jones Law Firm – Hydropower Reform Coalition – Northwest Whitewater Association – Columbia Institute for Water Policy – Rachael & John Osborn – Linda Finney & Tom Soeldner – American Whitewater – Morton Alexander & Paige Kenney – Joyce & John Roskelley – Suzy Dix, Windermere – Allen “AT” Miller, Lukins & Annis Attorneys at Law – Kathy Dixon & Barbara Rasero – Hydropower Reform Coalition

Sierra Club’s initiative: Spokane River Campaign 2020

The Spokane River truly is the People’s River.

The Spokane River needs you to

(1) Attend hearings or send comments on bad water quality proposals

(2) Conserve water this summer (less lawn watering!)

(3) Prepare for a renewed push for a rule that protects the River’s summertime flows,

(4) Volunteer with Sierra Club’s Spokane River 2020 campaign. 

“Vote for the River” by asking public officials what actions they will commit to do, in order to protect the Spokane River.

Text from Sierra Club Upper Columbia River Group Nature’s Advocate Newsletter (Feb. 2020)