It's easy to take for granted the urban-rural interface that makes the Spokane area such an attractive place to live and work. Fields ripe with grain, bucolic pastureland, and livestock roaming about greet the eye in every direction. The agricultural activities they represent are enmeshed in the customs and culture of our communities.
As the 21st century unfolds, a new dynamic is emerging. More and more people are building homes on hills with great views and tributaries that meander down to the Spokane River. Owners often commute to town for work and engage in small scale farming practices. "People are buying a little acreage and getting a slice of heaven," said Spokane Forum Executive Director Andy Dunau.
"The environmental and economic connections of this new interface is part of what our keynote speaker and local opinion leaders will address at our H20 Breakfast on March 17th."
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One of the challenges is the interwoven issue of protecting stream banks, riparian areas and water quality. Erosion, manure, pesticides, fertilizers, and faulty septic systems in these idyllic settings are all examples of non-point source pollution that find their way downstream. Often characterized as an ag community issue, the fence lines of who to work with and educate about water quality are not so clear anymore.