Local News

Environmental group gives Hangman Creek failing grade for cleanliness

SPOKANE, Wash. - Hangman Creek is getting an "F" grade for cleanliness. Spokane Riverkeeper, an environmental advocacy group, claims Hangman Creek is one of the most polluted in Washington State.

The Spokane Riverkeeper has been collecting data on the small waterway and claim the issue has been building over the years.

"This is a creek that has had all the shoreline vegetation stripped away from it in the upper watershed," said Riverkeeper Jerry White, Jr.

The Riverkeeper says it will give the creek an "F" on its annual report card of local rivers.

"Hangman Creek or Latah Creek is actually one of the most damaged and polluted creeks in Washington State," White said.

The news is shocking some neigors, but others say they've been waiting for something to be done about the pollution for a while.

"I've lived right on the river for the last 35 years, and I'm really anxious to see it cleaned up," said Steve Adams who lives right by the creek.

Hangman Creek apparently used to be the perfect location for a lush fish habitat. That's not the case anymore.

"At one time, salmon and trout once lived in this creek. Unfortunately now, native Redband Trout can no longer live in the main stem of this creek," said White.

"I've talked to a couple old guys years ago that caught 35-pound to 50-pound salmon in my backyard, right on Latah Creek. So to have those days back, the possibility of that is great," Adams added.

Riverkeeper says the solution starts with the state Department of Ecology enforcing laws which stop people from stripping the shoreline of vegetation. That vegetation is necessary to stop pollutants, like pesticides, sediment and fertilizer from flowing into the water. The Spokane Riverkeeper is also asking for your help in its mission.

"If you go to our website, spokaneriverkeeper.org, we have a petition that people can sign that is asking the Department of Ecology 'please don't look the other way on violations of water quality law,'" White said.