Status: In Progress


The chdelm khwa chatq’ele’et (Defending Our Lake) Coeur d’Alene Lake Outreach project covers the Coeur d’Alene Lake watershed (the upstream waters and contributing lands).


Coeur d’Alene Lake and its tributaries have been the heart of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe since time immemorial, providing transportation, food, medicine and spiritual sustenance. The discovery of silver and other metals in the Coeur d’Alene mountains spurred rapid changes to the landscape and dramatic land use changes. Historic mine waste disposal practices resulted in widespread contamination from metals including lead, arsenic, cadmium and zinc. More than 75 million tons of contaminated sediments were deposited into the lake and metals continue to reach the lake each year. Protecting and improving the water quality of Coeur d’Alene Lake is crucial, and education and outreach are a key component in those efforts.


The project will support outreach with landowners and focus on reducing nutrient loads to Coeur d’Alene Lake. Outreach projects will include events and media, such as the 2019 “Our Gem” Symposium, print materials, an update to the “Our Gem” map, and workshops. By working with partners such as the University of Idaho and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the lake management staff will continue to expand resource availability through programs like Baywatchers and Lake*A*Syst. These programs will promote best management practices such as riparian improvements and erosion and sediment reduction, which will help maintain and improve water quality in Coeur d’Alene Lake. Staff will use public outreach to provide technical assistance for landowners implementing restoration techniques on their property. The project will also support the dissemination of modeling and monitoring data to inform decision making at the local and regional level.


The project will result in more knowledgeable landowners and the general public, and increased implementation of best management practices, all of which will improve water quality in the Coeur d’Alene Basin.


Coeur d’Alene Tribe
Hazardous Waste Management Program
424 Sherman Ave., Suite 306
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814
(208) 667-5772


Coeur d’Alene Tribe


Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
University of Idaho
Spokane River Forum

Students collecting water samples from Coeur d’Alene Lake

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