The Future of Water Quality in Lake Coeur d’Alene
Over the last two years, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reviewed water quality data from Coeur d’Alene (CDA) Lake. This was no small task, as data has been collected on the Lake for decades. The NAS assembled a committee composed exclusively of scientists considered experts in their field from across the country. Their charge was to assess water quality and provide possible recommendations to guide future lake management efforts.
Coeur d’Alene Lake has seen a decline in metal concentrations in the decades since enacting environmental regulations. However, increased development has raised concerns that the Lake may be at risk of becoming anoxic, or devoid of oxygen, in deeper waters overlying lakebed sediment. In layman’s terms, the NAS looked at data regarding levels of metals, nutrients, and dissolved oxygen from the lake’s water. Their analysis was to determine if water quality trends could result in the release of sediment-bound heavy metals from the lakebed sediment into the lake’s waters and ecosystem.
The Our Gem Collaborative is hosting the event, “In Focus: The Coeur d’Alene Lake Report, presented by the NAS,” from 8 a.m. until noon, Nov. 15, 2022, at the Hagadone Event Center, 984-986 S. Floating Green Dr. Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814.
Members of NAS will discuss their findings on the health of Coeur d’Alene Lake and governmental organizations will provide comments on the report and their thoughts on moving forward. A panel discussion and question and answer session with the attending public will take place in the last hour.
Sponsors of the event include Spokane River Forum, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.
There was a substantial body of research for the NAS panel to take into consideration as they conducted their analysis and to before making their recommendations. The National Academy of Sciences report is available at on their website. DEQ, EPA, Kootenai County and the Tribe are reviewing the information and look forward to having conversations with the public throughout the Coeur d’Alene Basin to determine a path forward for managing the lake.