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2016 Hangman Creek Conditions Report Card

Jerry White - Spokane Riverkeeper - 06/12/17

Hangman Creek Spokane River Confluence sediment.

Hangman Creek Overall Grade: F

The River Condition Report Card reports the levels of pollution and the general condition of Hangman Creek. In order to grade water quality we use Washington State Water Quality Standards and established notions of what a healthy ecosystem is. Our grades are not an extensive of exhausted study of conditions, but an assessment of the conditions based on our observations. In order to receive an "A", the river needs to meet state water quality standards every time (with the exception of extreme events) and reflect a healthy river ecosystem. Poor water quality or river conditions are reflected in a below average to failing grades. When rivers receive failing grades, the public loses.

Hangman Creek Grading Chart.

Map of Hangman Creek Water Sampling Sites.
Map of sampling sites



Temperature: Water temperature is Hangman Creek exceeded the 18 C standard from June-August. High water temperatures are caused by lack of shade plants and steam-side forest along the creek bank. Temperatures in Hangman Creek are lethal to native Redband Trout. The larger pattern during the summer is very high temperatures in the Palouse region with cool temperatures near the mouth, due to ground water inflow. Some tributaries have cooler water during the hottest months.

Hangman Creek Water Temperatures June through September 2016
Hangman Creek Water Temperatures June through September 2016.




Turbidity (Water Clarity): Turbidity is a result of sediment flowing into Hangman Creek, creating conditions that suffocate fish, buries their eggs, and contains other pollutants. Hangman Creek contained high turbidity, especially in January and March, with visibility reduced to as low as 7 cm. Increasing streamside vegetation in the watershed could greatly reduce harmful sediment loads.

Hangman Creek in May, 2016. Runoff clogged the creek with sediment.
Hangman Creek in May, 2016. Runoff clogged the creek with sediment.




Shoreline vegetation (Riparian) condition: The condition of shoreline vegetation on Hangman Creek is in very poor shape. Some estimates say 70% of this vegetation is gone. I the upper reaches of the river nearly all of the shoreline vegetation has been stripped off of the creek due to land use practices. On the lower creek the riparian conditions is in much better shape and there are reaches near the confluence with the Spokane River with fully functioning forest. With the upper creek compromised, numerous problems occur that have an effect on water quality all the way down the river.

Streamside vegetation traps sediment, nutrients and provides shade.
Streamside vegetation traps sediment, nutrients and provides shade.



Hangman Creek polluting the Spokane River 3/16/16
Hangman Creek polluting the Spokane River 3/16/16



Help Hangman Creek, the Spokane River and Little Spokane River!

Sign the online petition below to request the Department of Ecology do their part in cleaning up Hangman Creek.
Contact your legislator and tell them you support efforts to clean-up our surface waters.
Report pollution problems to the Water Department of Ecology 509-329-3400.
Get involved with our local Spokane Falls Trout Unlimited



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