Draft River Recreation Management Plan Released

The City of Leavenworth and Chelan County Natural Resources along with many other stakeholders have been collaborating to develop better river recreation management strategies for the Icicle and Wenatchee rivers. They have developed a draft management plan intended to achieve a sustainable future river recreation system. Read the plan here.

This plan is the result of four years of meetings among federal, state, county, and city representatives as well as residents, nonprofits, and businesses. The plan contains management proposals to address numerous issues identified by the public and committee members. These include: local environment degradation such as bank erosion, water quality, disturbance of fish and other organisms, garbage, public behavior, lack of restrooms, parking, and safety of river users. A registration pass system for users of the rivers in Leavenworth is proposed to fund proposed management actions. The plan also contains recommendations for seasonal river closures due to low water levels and higher temperatures which affect all fish. Additional research on water quality in the rivers is recommended.

We are concerned that the plan falls short in recognizing the impact of climate change on the animals and freshwater species that rely on the rivers. For example, steelhead and bull trout are endangered fish and protecting them should be one of our first considerations when developing priorities for the management of the Wenatchee and Icicle watersheds. We are disappointed that the plan does not recommend limiting the number of permits issued to recreational users. Continued use of the rivers at the levels that have been documented will make it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve protection of the environment and species that rely on the river.

Public comments on this plan are due by November 17th. To provide public comment please email Erin McKay, Senior Natural Resource Specialist, Chelan County Natural Resources at [email protected].