By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The Coeur d’Alene Lake Advisory Committee met Tuesday and decided to begin accepting applications for additional projects that could improve preservation at the lake.
Gov. Brad Little established the advisory committee in August of 2021 with a variety of stakeholders, and directed $2 million to reduce phosphorus in Coeur d’Alene Lake.
On May 27, Little signed a proclamation continuing the committee, which is tasked with distributing grants for water preservation and restoration.
Some of the initial projects to receive funding included a Coeur d’Alene stormwater project at Sanders Beach, a Coeur d’Alene River stabilization project and a St. Joe River restoration plan. In total, the committee selected eight separate projects receiving grants that will cost a combined $1.9 million.
The funding needed to be allocated by July 1.
Earlier this month, Little announced another round of investments for the lake’s improvements, through his Leading Idaho plan, including another $20 million to be distributed over the next several years.
The committee discussed possible uses for the $20 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding received by the Department of Environmental Quality for nutrient reduction at Coeur d’Alene Lake.
The committee, along with DEQ, must appropriate the funding by December of 2024 and it must be spent by December of 2026.
Committee members said they plan to review the applications already submitted, but also take new grant applications.
The committee will meet again in six to eight weeks.
In a May 5 press release, Little said “Water is the source of life, and North Idaho truly revolves around Coeur d’Alene Lake. We depend on this lake for the health of the surrounding environment. All aspects of the economy go back to the lake, from tourism to recreation to local business. Many of us refer to Coeur d’Alene Lake as the gem of North Idaho, and we all want to keep it that way. That’s why this session my legislative partners and I championed new investments in the lake and for water quality across our state.”