DEQ seeks representatives for Kootenai Bay Watershed Advisory Group

Bonner County Daily Bee

COEUR D’ALENE — The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) seeks representatives from various interest groups to serve on the new Kootenai Bay Watershed Advisory Group (WAG).

The WAG is a group of citizens from a diverse set of interests dedicated to improving and protecting water quality in Kootenai Bay in Lake Pend Oreille.

Water quality in the bay and the greater Boyer Slough watershed is impacted by year-round stormwater runoff, seasonal snowmelt, and nutrient loading, which flow directly into the Kootenai Bay.

DEQ is seeking participants from groups representing agriculture, mining, point source dischargers, forest products, local government, livestock, water-based recreation, environmental interests, and land management or regulatory agencies. Members do not need to be water quality experts to serve on a WAG. Individuals who live or work within the area of interest are knowledgeable and informed, and DEQ values community input.

Responsibilities of WAG members include:

•Advise DEQ on the development of a water quality improvement plan known as total maximum daily load (TMDL) for Boyer Slough. Boyer Slough has degraded water quality conditions that may be affecting Kootenai Bay.

•Advise DEQ on the need for and development of a TMDL for Kootenai Bay.

•Help identify contributing pollution sources in the Boyer Slough watershed and the adjacent landscape to Kootenai Bay.

•Recommend specific actions to effectively control sources of pollution to Boyer Slough and Kootenai Bay.

•Help develop and implement a plan to meet water quality targets identified in the TMDLs.

The WAG will meet on a monthly or bimonthly basis and members are asked to serve at least two-year terms. The first meeting will be held in March 2022. The date and location will be determined, but meetings will be in the Sandpoint area. All meetings will be advertised and open to the public.

Please submit questions or comments to Kristin Lowell at (208) 769-1422.

For more information, see DEQ’s Watershed Advisory Group page.

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