Hastings’ Provision to Preserve Safe Recreation in Lake Chelan passes House
Jun 6, 2012 -
The House of Representatives passed legislation today that includes language authored by Congressman Doc Hastings to ensure the safety of recreational users on Lake Chelan.
“Water recreation on Lake Chelan has been a family activity for people around the state during the summer months for generations,” said Hastings. “The provision that passed the House today will force the Corps to address the safety hazards that woody debris poses to recreational users and ensure the safety of boaters and other recreational users of Lake Chelan for years to come.”
Woody debris has been identified by the Seattle District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as an option for private dock owners to mitigate the alleged impact of their docks on bull trout and other fish. With the dramatic rise and fall of the water level through the different seasons, local residents have raised concerns about the possible movement of this woody debris and the safety hazards that it poses to boaters and other recreational users of the lake.
Specifically, Hastings’ language, which was included in the report accompanying H.R. 5325, requires the Army Corps of Engineers to report back to Congress on their efforts to address the safety hazards posed by woody debris in Lake Chelan, the liability of the Corps and private dock owners should a person or property be injured or destroyed by the woody debris, and whether woody debris should continue to be an acceptable option offered for mitigation within Lake Chelan.
Hastings has repeatedly expressed concerns and requested information from the Corps on this issue. He is particularly concerned with the lack of oversight on the placement of the debris and the potential for it to move to shallower waters as the lake’s water level rises and falls.
Recently, the Seattle District Corps of Engineers responded to Hastings that they are “working to compile data on the types and locations of mitigation” it has authorized on Lake Chelan, but that it would take “at least 3 to 6 months” to report its findings.
“With the passage of this language by the House, I expect the Corps to promptly report information requested and to answer legitimate questions raised by my constituents,” said Hastings.
In March, Hastings, who has long questioned the need to mitigate the impact of docks on fish, submitted a request to Administrator Lubchenco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the science used to determine the impact of docks on fish species and the need for mitigation. Lubchenco has yet to respond to this request.