Regional News

Inchelium/ Gifford Ferry Service to Continue After Colville Business Council Meets with Army Corps


Apr 25, 2017

The Colville Business Council has convinced the US Army Corps to keep the Inchelium Gifford Ferry running for the season. The CBC, Tribal Public Safety Director Debra Wulff, and other Tribal staff met last week with the Corps as well as Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to assure that the ferry service will not be interrupted as federal officials draw down Lake Roosevelt for spring runoff.

The Corps and BOR had earlier announced a drawdown which would put water levels below what is necessary to operate the ferry. The ferry was set to stop running last week.

“We are pleased that this vital means of transportation to local residence will continue to serve our citizens, particularly when a number of roads on the Colville Reservation have been closed because of flood damage,” CBC Chairman Dr. Michael Marchand said today. “This is a good decision for all the people who depend on the Ferry to go to work, to school, to their jobs and medical services,” Marchand said.

When the Corps and BOR announced that Lake Roosevelt water levels would be lowered to the point that ferry service from Inchelium to Gifford would be halted, the CBC immediately requested a meeting with federal officials to head off the closure.

“The decision not to lower the lake, and to avoid a long interruption in ferry service, was necessary and wise,” Marchand said. “We anticipate flooding through mid-May, damaging roads throughout our Reservation. We appreciate the fact that our federal counterparts agreed to our request to protect and help keep our public safe while traveling in the Inchelium area.”

Steve Barton, Chief of the Columbia Basin Water Management Division for the Army Corps, notified Colville officials today that the Corps and the BOR have agreed that, “in consideration of the extensive weather-related road damage and high risk of continued closures and reclosures of repaired roads, Lake Roosevelt will be operated this year at or above elevation 1232 feet to keep the Inchelium-Gifford Ferry in service for the season.”

 


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