Spokane Riverkeeper is a vigilant guardian and advocate for the Spokane River and its watershed. The Spokane Riverkeeper works to protect the river’s ecological health, its aesthetic integrity and the public uses of the river for future generations of our community. Our goal is a fishable and swimmable Spokane River. The Spokane River is such a cherished asset to all citizens of this community, that equitable use is a matter of justice. As a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance movement, Riverkeeper’s first priority is to defend the river against pollution and hold polluters accountable.
The Spokane Riverkeeper was formed in 2009 by a small group of lawyers fed up with polluters abusing the Spokane River. They recognized the hands on approach that values a presence on the river and uncompromising advocacy. Our pioneering work stopped millions of gallons of raw sewage from entering the river each year and created a pioneering effort to keep toxic pollution out of the River. We quickly expanded by hiring advocates and scientists, who expanded our legal work to protect the river.
Jerry was born in Corvallis, Oregon near the Willamette River. His family moved to Cheney where he grew up exploring the lakes, rivers and forests of the area. From a young age he was raised by wolves, trout, and herons along the Spokane River where they taught him to fish and hunt. He traveled each spring to fish for native Chinook salmon with his grandfather on the Willamette. Jerry has a long history of working to protect rivers in the Inland Northwest. As a former staff member of Save our Wild Salmon, Jerry advocated for the restoration and protection of native Snake River salmon and steelhead. He has worked for native trout as conservation chair and continues to volunteer for the Spokane Falls Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Currently, he is a board member of Inland Northwest Nature Connection. He loves to spend time on the Spokane River fly fishing for trout, rowing his drift boat, shooting one of his longbows or backcountry skiing on the very snow that feeds our River. Jerry lives with his wife, two sons and a barky heeler dog within earshot of the Spokane River.
Jule works on water quality and nonpoint pollution in the Spokane River watershed for Spokane Riverkeeper. Although born in Oklahoma, Jule moved to Anacortes, Washington when he was 12, where he began his lifelong love of the water and all things in it. He graduated with a B.A. in Biology from Lewis and Clark College and then went on to earn his Master’s degree in Marine Biology from the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Coos Bay, Oregon. Jule comes to the Center for Justice by way of Olympia, where he helped regulate the shellfish industry for the State Department of Health. Jule is married to the always wonderful Katy Sheehan and has two very active sons.
Waterkeeper Alliance is an environmental organization founded in 1999, responding to a growing movement of organizations with the name Riverkeeper, Baykeeper, Soundkeeper, and other related "keeper" names. The original Riverkeeper was organized in New York in 1983, as a response to the destructive industrial pollution that was destroying the Hudson River.
Today, Waterkeeper Alliance unites all Waterkeeper organizations; coordinating and covering issues affecting Waterkeepers that work to protect bodies of water around the world. It's the fastest growing grassroots environmental movement in the world, spanning six continents. Each Waterkeeper organization is devoted to the preservation of specific watersheds.
SPOKANE RIVER FORUM
The Spokane River Forum serves as a clearinghouse and information exchange for all things related to the Spokane River. Initiatives include: Spokane EnviroStars, recognizing businesses which properly manage hazardous and other wastes...Meet Me at the River Raft....and Kayak Eco-Tours in which community members explore the 111 mile Spokane River. Spokane River Forum Conferences are held every 18 months to maintain a regional dialogue regarding protection of water quality. The water trail web site, www.spokanewatertrail.org was visited by over fifteen thousand people in its first year and is growing, making the Spokane River a destination attraction for locals and visitors alike. It has set an extraordinary standard for being highly interactive as well as providing informational pages for fishing, paddling, safety, stewardship, and other support resources.
CENTER FOR JUSTICE
The Center for Justice is the parent organization of the Spokane Riverkeeper. The Center helps thousands of people in Spokane with civil legal services such as getting their driver’s license back, filing or requesting public records, navigating or reducing Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) or dealing with landlord abuses. Their programs work to preserve and protect our natural environment for the wellness of our planet and community, to overcome barriers to employment and to assist those who have been previously incarcerated to get back on their feet. They advocate to keep our local governments accountable for things like police misconduct, public safety and enforcing land use laws. They also work to improve medical and legal access for the disadvantaged, working with community partners and governments to create better polices and practices that will equitably serve people from ALL economic and social strata. These innovative approaches meanwhile, save taxpayers thousands of dollars.