Status: In Progress


Location

The uł qhesu’lumkhw (land is good again) project area is in the Hangman Creek Watershed in Kootenai and Benewah Counties. The watershed drains approximately 430,000 acres in Idaho and Washington. The major water body is Hangman Creek, also known as Latah Creek.

Background

Agriculture has been the dominant land use in the Hangman Creek Watershed since the early 1900s. As part of agricultural development, forest and riparian areas were cut and cleared, stream channels were straightened, ditches were dug, and roads were built. These developments changed the watershed’s response to precipitation and flooding. The system became stressed with heavy sediment loading, low water quality, and stream bank erosion, and severely impacted the resident trout and anadromous fish populations and habitat.

Conservation efforts by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe (Tribe) began in 2001 and the first management plan was developed in 2008.. The Tribe is leading projects to improve fish and wildlife habitat and water quality in the Hangman Creek Watershed. The Tribe is currently involved in an extensive effort to restore native salmonids to the watershed. These restoration actions rely heavily on “partnering with beaver” since beaver drive a natural process to regain stream and floodplain functions. These functions store water within the floodplain and on the landscape for release during the dry season that contributes to better stream flow. For previously existing and ongoing vegetation restoration projects, the Tribe has been primarily using plants in the willow family since they are favored by beaver. This project will build upon those efforts and provide an additional component by using other plant species of cultural significance to the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.

Plans

The uł qhesu’lumkhw project will use culturally significant methods for restoration:

  1. Plant grass, forb, shrub, and tree species of cultural significance.
  2. Encourage traditional harvest of plants of cultural significance. Traditional harvest techniques are expected to increase plant diversity and hasten the development of mature, native, floodplain habitats.
  3. Harvest seeds and cuttings from culturally significant plants for use in restoration.
  4. Use prescribed fire as a tool to prepare planting sites. Prescribed fire will help maintain plant diversity and create habitat for utilitarian, medicinal and food plants, and fish and wildlife.

Benefits

The project will establish plant species of cultural significance to the Coeur d’Alene Tribe as part of other ongoing restoration efforts in the Hangman Creek Watershed. These significant plants will serve as a replacement for those resources that are unavailable in the Coeur d’Alene Basin due to contamination. This will restore the opportunity for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe to use those resources and interact with the landscape in traditional ways.

Contact

Coeur d’Alene Tribe
Wildlife Program
401 Anne Antelope Ave
Plummer, ID 83851
(208) 686-0312

Sponsor

Coeur d’Alene Tribe

Partners

Bonneville Power Administration
Avista
USDA Farm Service Agency
Benewah Soil and Water Conservation District
Private landowners

Example of a camas meadow, a plant of cultural importance to the Coeur d’Alene Tribe

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