Avista initiates restoration efforts after South Hill tree removal incident

SPOKANE, Wash. – Avista has initiated restoration efforts after a road was bulldozed and trees were removed on a conservation land near the Qualchan Golf Course.

According to a release, all parties involved have committed to restoring the land and share in the community’s concern for the situation.

"We've already made an initial site visit with the contractor Avista has hired," Garret Jones, City of Spokane Park and Recreation Department Planning Manager, said. 

A contractor bulldozed the road and removed the trees, but the Parks Department and Avista said they never gave authorization for the destruction. The contractor said he was hired to do the work.

Avista is now working with the Department of Ecology and Parks Department. A local firm has been hired to install immediate erosion control measures along the newly-constructed access road.

The City said they identified several areas along the one mile stretch of road where they're concerned about erosion. Crews are working on a temporary fix to prevent things from getting worse.

"Right now we're out there now making the immediate erosion control needs, so there is no additional damage that is done during the road," Jones said.

The temporary fix includes laying down straw and silt fencing to stop water from running down the slope into Latah Creek. 

"It is a black plastic material and it's staked in the ground so any runoff that comes uphill is captured in that area and is contained," Jones said.

Over the course of the next several days, roads will be surveyed to help inform a restoration plan. Avista said required forest and cultural assessments are also being initiated, which will allow for further planning of restoration efforts.

Signs will be installed to provide information about the project by Monday, April 24. Land users are asked to avoid the area as a pathway and to use caution around downed and destabilized trees.

It is still unclear as to who authorized the bulldozing and tree removal. 

Avista said details for the first stakeholder meeting on the restoration plans are being finalized. The meeting is expected to occur toward the end of April. Those interested can submit a request for stakeholder meeting notification or provide input on the restoration project through bluffrestore@avistacorp.com

KREM


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