County will fund lake water analysis

Idaho News
By Kaye Thornbrugh; Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d’ALENE — Kootenai County commissioners voted Wednesday to commit $50,000 to a project analyzing lake water samples for trace and toxic metals. Bill Brooks and Chris Fillios voted to provide the funds, which will come from the fiscal year 2022 community support budget. Leslie Duncan was not present for the meeting. The University of Idaho is working with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to study the impacts of wakes on water quality in the nearshore zone in Lake Coeur d’Alene. Though IDEQ will fund the two-year study, there was no available funding to perform additional analysis on water samples for trace and toxic metals associated with past mining waste from the Bunker Hill and Silver Valley mining districts. The Kootenai County Natural…
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Idaho awards grants for fixing aging water infrastructure

Idaho News
By Brad Carlson; Capital Press Joe Tackett and Greg Curtis of Nampa and Meridian, Idaho, Irrigation District at the Ridenbaugh Canal headworks on the Boise River. Brad Carlson/Capital Press The Idaho Water Resource Board on Sept. 16 approved 12 grants totaling $12.5 million to upgrade aging irrigation infrastructure. The board’s finance committee on Sept. 8 endorsed the grant recipients and dollar amounts, which the full board approved. The board received 31 requests for a combined $41 million. A single region cannot get more than half of the money. In the southwest, for example, the state approved a grant of $1.82 million rather than the $3.18 million Nampa and Meridian Irrigation District requested to modernize Ridenbaugh Canal. District directors will decide how to proceed with the project, said Greg Curtis, water…
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Water alternatives presented to Moscow leaders

Idaho News
By Anthony Kuipers; Moscow-Pullman Daily News The Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee presented its report on alternative water sources to the Moscow City Council on Tuesday in an effort to inform city leaders about ways to slow the aquifer’s decline. PBAC hired Alta Science and Engineering Inc. as a consultant to analyze the four alternatives. The recommended alternative is to divert water from the South Fork of the Palouse River in Pullman eight months out of the year, and divert water from Moscow’s Paradise Creek four months out of the year. It was the option that scored the highest based on criteria that includes cost and reliability. During a July PBAC meeting, Alta’s water resources division manager Robin Nimmer said this option had the least expensive capital cost of $73 million…
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Health Advisory Issued For Spirit Lake

Idaho News
Coeur d'Alene Press The Panhandle Health District issued a health advisory for Spirit Lake on Wednesday. A health advisory has been issued for Spirit Lake. The Panhandle Health District in collaboration with the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality issued the warning Wednesday for Spirit Lake and Lake Cocolalla, according to a press release. Recent water sampling by DEQ indicates the presence of cyanobacteria, also known as a harmful algae bloom or blue-green algae in Spirit Lake and Lake Cocolalla. The public is urged to use caution when recreating in or near the water, especially where ingestion is a risk, the release said. Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s water bodies. When temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or…
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Spokane Riverkeeper urges conservation as water flows fall

Idaho News
By Kip Hall; The Spokesman Review Kayakers paddle slowly down the Little Spokane River where it flows along State Route 291 and near where it flows into the Spokane River in this July 2021 photo. River flows that year were among their lowest over the past five years, according to United States Geological Survey data, and flows this year are approaching those levels after the river was roaring from heavy snowmelt and rain earlier this spring. (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW) The organization tasked with protecting the Spokane River is urging city residents to reduce their water use, including watering lawns and plants just twice per week, during the final weeks of summer as flows plunge to droughtlike levels. “We had all this water. We had this great snowpack,” said Jerry White…
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Exploding population boom in Idaho is affecting domestic water supply

Idaho News
By Anteia McCollum; Idaho Capital Sun Tourists and locals alike enjoy a beach along the shores of Coeur d’Alene Lake near the resort in Kootenai County. (Anteia Elswick/Idaho Capital Sun) As more people migrate to Idaho, counties like Ada and Kootenai are seeing the effects of the rising population on the areas’ already diminishing water sources. Whether water is coming from groundwater sources like aquifers or surface water sources like rivers and reservoirs, local officials say Idaho’s water is being used faster than it can be replenished. In 2015, Idaho had the highest water usage per person in the nation with an average of 184 gallons of water being used a day, according to a report from the U.S. Geological Survey. While 1.6% of Idaho’s water withdrawals were used for…
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Health advisory issued for Fernan Lake in North Idaho, yet another cyanobacteria victim

Idaho News
Idaho Statesman Algae is pictured along the shore of Fernan Lake this month. A public health advisory was issued Thursday for Fernan Lake. The advisory, issued by Panhandle Health District in collaboration with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, states that recent water sampling indicates the presence of cyanobacteria, a harmful algae bloom, in the lake. The agencies are urging the public to use caution when recreating in or near the water, especially where ingestion is a risk. TOP VIDEOS × Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s water bodies. When temperatures rise, their populations can bloom and toxic chemical compounds, or cyanotoxins, can be released into the water. Caution should be taken anywhere where the water appears discolored or murky as…
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Idaho drought likely to linger into new water year

Idaho News
By Brad Carlson; Capital Press Much of Idaho likely will remain in some level of drought when the water year ends on Sept. 30. Erin Whorton, a water supply specialist at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Boise, said about 68% of the state is drier than normal, and 45% remains in moderate to severe drought. Some relief came with the wet weather last spring. But the hot, dry summer in much of the state leaves little time to make up ground before the water year ends, she said. The dry pattern “really doesn’t let us get out of drought until we get into the wetter fall and winter months,” Wharton said. She said that to end drought by Sept. 30, Idaho needs between 96% and 317% of normal…
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River and Sky: A fish biologist’s perspective of counting salmon from the air

Idaho News
By Carli Baum; East Idaho News SALMON RIVER — On a chilly morning, I’m awake and alert as I can be. I’m strapped into a helicopter seat, flight helmet on, doors off, safety checks done, GPS in one hand, radio in the other and a data sheet secured to my thigh. The excitement grows as the rotor blades pick up momentum and start humming loudly. We lift off from the ground and begin our trip into the backcountry. As I look over the wilderness mountains, my heart is pounding, I feel like a fish out of water and think, “How did I end up here? I’m a fish biologist!” As fisheries biologists, we are used to walking along a streambed looking down to see what fish we can find. However,…
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PRESS RELEASE: BLM conservation easement enhances outdoor recreation, helps protect wildlife habitat and water quality

Idaho News
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – The Bureau of Land Management has purchased a conservation easement that enhances public access to outdoor recreation opportunities and helps protect important mule deer habitat and water quality in the South Fork of the Snake River corridor. The BLM purchased the 154-acre conservation easement on the Alan Lynn Davis property from the Teton Regional Land Trust using monies from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  The Alan Lynn Davis property is located on the north side of the South Fork of the Snake River in Jefferson County near Ririe, Idaho. The property is within the BLM’s Snake River Area of Critical Environmental Concern and Special Recreation Management Area. BLM-managed public lands are adjacent to the property on the east and west sides. The BLM’s acquisition…
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