Soil and water

$ 2 million boost to CDA Lake

The Coeur d’Alene basin could see 11 nutrient reduction measures materialize in 2022 after state approval on Friday.

Members of the Coeur d’Alene Lake Advisory Board ended their three-month assignment on Wednesday afternoon to recommend a package of projects aimed at improving the health of the lakeside city’s beloved body of water.

A subset of Governor Brad Little’s Building Idaho’s Future initiative, CLAC solicited and reviewed 40 eligible proposals vying for $ 2 million in public funding.

“One thing that encouraged me is that in the short window we gave for applications, we still came up with over 40 projects,” said Hemene James, CLAC member. “Now imagine if we were to meet again, imagine the influx of applications we would receive … I think that can go a long way to show (Petit) that our region is interested.”

The projects prioritized by the CLAC and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality were those that:

• Reduce wastewater pollution from point sources such as wastewater treatment plants

• Manage the rainwater that flows into the lake and its tributaries

• Address diffuse source pollution such as sediment loading through bank stabilization, wetland enhancement and other efforts.

• Support research projects such as lake treatment options

IDEQ experts evaluated the proposals and scored them based on cost, total amount of phosphorus reduced, project schedule, and relative community support.

Of the 40 submissions, 22 were the best candidates in the minds of experts from CLAC and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. On Wednesday, CLAC members prioritized 11 projects to implement.

These 11 included:

• Approximately $ 745,000 in stormwater projects submitted by Coeur d’Alene to reduce phosphorus loadings at Sanders Beach, Independence Point and Mullan Avenue.

• $ 515,000 in projects that would implement “sustainable” improvements to reduce nutrient and sediment loadings to the town of Kellogg’s stormwater system. The reforms would impact the discharge into the southern fork of the Coeur d’Alene River and Bunker Creek and support zinc reduction efforts by the central processing plant.

• Approximately $ 25,600 in stormwater drainage improvements at Marmot Trail Road through the East Side Highway District. Currently, the erosion of the road is deposited in the ditches that flow directly into Lac Coeur d’Alene.

• $ 278,900 for shoreline protection efforts to reduce soil erosion containing “highly contaminated soils from historic Silver Valley mining”. The project would involve three landowners and the Kootenai-Shoshone Soil and Water Conservation District.

• $ 100,000 to help five landowners complete 800 feet of bank stabilization along the St. Joe River.

• $ 77,040 to help Phase 2 of the Mica Creek Watershed Agricultural Sediment Reduction and Improvement Project.

The projects prioritized by the CLAC will be presented to the Panhandle Basin Advisory Group on Friday morning. The public can watch the BAG meeting via Zoom.

IDEQ Director Jess Byrne will make the final award decision for the project.

“Due to the excellent work of everyone involved, this effort has been more fruitful than I could have imagined,” Byrne told CLAC on Wednesday. “I am convinced that this is only the start of significant nutrient reduction projects in the Lac Coeur d’Alene watershed.

The proposals selected by CLAC aim to support an ongoing study by the National Academies of Sciences on historical and current data on the water quality of Lac Coeur d’Alene.

The members of the CLAC are:

• Kootenai County Commissioner Chris Fillios

• Former Lieutenant Governor and State Representative Jack Riggs

• The mayor of Coeur d’Alene, Steve Widmyer

• Coeur d’Alene Representative Paul Amador

• Shelley Austin, Executive Director of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance

• Chairman of the Hagadone Marine group Craig Brosenne

• Harrison City Councilor Jordan Hall

• Bruce Cyr, Lakeshore landowner