Review Of Lake Coeur d'Alene Water Quality Kicks Off
Lake Coeur d’Alene has well-documented water quality issues after decades of mining in the region. Millions of tons of metal sediments lie at the bottom of the lake. Scientists say there are declining oxygen levels and that could force the metals to rise and contaminate the rest of the water.
Those issues are the focus of an upcoming assessment by the nonprofit National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and Kootenai County contracted with NASEM and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe is supportive of the study, which will evaluate the current water quality in the lake and will assess future trends.
“We need and we hope that this evaluation proves our data is sound. And I am certain it is sound," said Phil Cernera, the tribe’s director of lake management talking during the assessment team's first public meeting Wednesday.
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has been trying to get the state and the federal government to clean up the lake for decades. The tribe pulled out of the state’s lake management plan in 2019, citing inaction. A couple months later, Governor Brad Little asked for a third-party review of the water quality data and management efforts.
During a second introductory public meeting Friday, officials will talk about various water quality models. The report should be complete by the summer of 2022.
Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen
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