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New CDA Lake phosphorus removal projects approved

Doug Nadvornick/Spokane Public Radio
The new projects will supplement 11 other jobs in the Coeur d'Alene Lake watershed that were approved earlier this year.

The 10 projects will be funded by federal rescue plan money.

The state of Idaho has issued a second round of grants for projects designed to keep phosphorus out of Coeur d’Alene Lake and neighboring water bodies.

A lake advisory committee picked 10 proposals — totaling $3.6 million — for the lake and surrounding watersheds, including one designed to reduce the phosphorus loading into Fernan Lake.

“Not only does it help assimilate some of the phosphorus that enters, ultimately, Coeur d’Alene Lake, but we’re hopeful that that one also will help with some of the algae problems we’ve been having in Fernan Lake,” says Dan McCracken, the regional administrator for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

Projects were also chosen for Wolf Lodge and Mica creeks and Coeur d’Alene Lake’s Powderhorn Bay. Stormwater projects will be done in Coeur d’Alene, Kellogg and the Eastside Highway District.

“Ultimately, everything that happens in the watershed affects the water quality in Coeur d’Alene Lake, so we’re looking to kind of make an impact all across the whole watershed,” McCracken said.

These projects supplement a first round of grants given out last year. Those were drawn from a $2 million state appropriation. McCracken says design work on those has been ongoing this year. On-the-ground work is expected to commence in the spring.

“It’s a priority for the state, so it’s something that we continue to anticipate continued investment in that for quite some time," he said.

For the new projects, the committee is pulling from a $20 million pot of federal rescue plan money allocated by the governor and legislature.

McCracken says the advisory committee recently asked for additional details about other projects that are vying for money. Some were designed to address concerns raised in a report issued this year by the National Academy of Science. The committee may vote to put more of the rescue plan money toward some of those when it meets again in March.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.