This presentation was created by Holly Pennington and Pat Meyers, IMN members of the Pend Oreille Chapter and presented by Pat Meyers on April 4, 2020. It highlights key conservation and restoration concepts presented by Robin Wall Kimmerer in her book “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants”.
This presentation was created and presented by Brita Olson, Watershed Coordinator with the Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group (LCFWG), on April 4, 2020. The LCFWG has done recent river restoration projects on the Bull River and Vermilion River and they have several upcoming projects to enhance local watershed areas. Video links can be found here:
Roots: Bringing Back the Bull River: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI7OkiNA9GQ&t=132s
Pulse: A Story of River Restoration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brgJKgH37F0&t=11s
This video includes two presentations about the water quality of Lake Coeur d’Alene, from April 9, 2020. The first is by Rebecca Stevens, Restoration Coordinator for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. The second is by Dr. Craig Cooper, Limnologist for Idaho DEQ. In the 1880’s silver and gold were discovered along the Coeur d’Alene River east of Lake Coeur d’Alene in what is called the Silver Valley. Tailings and other wastes from the mining process over the years flowed into the river and lake and have contaminated the lake with significant heavy metals, resulting in the death of fish and aquatic life. These presentations address the history and remediation efforts to improve the water quality of the area.
This presentation was by Seth Oliver, Hydrologist for Idaho DEQ, on April 10, 2020. The Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer provides water for over half a million people in North Idaho and Eastern Washington. Much of that water flows into the aquifer from the southern end of Lake Pend Oreille into gravel and cobble deposited during Ice Age Floods over 15,000 years ago. Seth presented the geologic history of the area and water quality and quantity of the aquifer.
This presentation was by Molly McCahon, Executive Director of the Lakes Commission in Sandpoint, on April 11, 2020. Molly presented information about watersheds and methods to improve water quality in the watersheds. She outlined the different agencies that get involved in the building and permitting processes in Bonner County. And she covered invasive species in our local waters and summarized Lake Pend Oreile water level controls.
This presentation was by Derek Antonelli, Pend Oreille Chapter of IMN and President of the Calypso Chapter of the Idaho Native Plant Society on April 11, 2020. In 2012, Derek headed up a study of the flora of the Hager Lake area (west of Priest Lake in Bonner County). This rare peatland area had previously had its plants studied 57 and 20 years previously. The 2012 study added 111 species to the list of plants in the area.
This presentation was by Laura Wolf, Wildlife Biologist with IDFG in Coeur d’Alene on April 16, 2020. Laura presented the different species of mammals in Wetlands, Forests, Alpine Regions and Urban/Suburban areas of North Idaho.
This presentation was by Barb Moore, Population Biologist with IDFG in Coeur d’Alene on April 16, 2020. Barb presented the latest information about the ongoing cow and calf elk survival monitoring that has taken place for the past 6 years in the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe River areas and the surrounding forests. Monitoring of the survival rates of elk cows and calves provides an indication of the population health of the elk populations in the area. It includes determination of mortality causes for the elk.
This presentation was by Dr. Francine Mejia of the USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center and Eric Berntsen with the Kalispel Tribe Natural Resources Department, on April 25, 2020. Francine’s portion of the presentation focused primarily on the Pend Oreille River and Priest River. Studies have taken place to monitor the temperatures of the rivers, with a focus of targeting colder water areas for the purpose of enhancing the fish population in those areas of the river. Fish need cold water to thrive and especially the Priest River is warmer than most rivers in the Northwest. Eric focused his portion of the presentation on stream restoration projects in the area: Harvey Creek near Sullivan Lake in Washington, Goose Creek SW of Priest Lake, Hughes Fork in far North Idaho and Indian Creek in Washington.
Carrie Hugo, Wildlife Biologist with the BLM office in Coeur d’Alene, conducted this class about the 17 birds of prey in Idaho on May 2, 2020. Nearly all can be found in North Idaho. The presentation included information about the birds’ sizes, call sounds, brood sizes and population status and other attributes. Range maps are included.
Carrie Hugo, Wildlife Biologist with the BLM office in Coeur d’Alene, conducted this class about the 12 owl species of North Idaho and 2 species of owls in southern Idaho on May 2, 2020. The presentation included information about the birds’ sizes, asymmetrical ears that help locate prey, silent flight wing attributes, concerns about rodenticides killing owls, range maps and other attributes.
The presentation included two videos that sometimes were inaudible. Those two videos can be seen separately here:
On May 7, 2020, Carla Burnside, Zone Archeologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, presented to our chapter “Northern Idaho After the Glaciers and Floods”. The presentation includes a history of the glaciers, forming lakes via ice dams and the rupture of those ice dams causing catastrophic floods. The flora and fauna of the region from 18,000 years ago to recent times were presented, including alpine tundra evolving to the interior forest that we have now. Mastadons, giant beavers, woodland muskox and many other mammal other species were present. The presentation includes the findings and maps of David Thompson, who explored the area from 1808-1812.
T.J. Ross, Senior Fishery Research Biologist for IDFG, conducted this presentation about the Kootenai River Fish Restoration Project on May 14, 2020. The addition of Libby Dam to the Kootenai River in NW Montana in 1972 resulted in significant negative impacts to the fisheries in the river downstream of the dam. The dam retains nutrients that previously flowed throughout the river system. In addition, levees had been added to the banks of the Kootenai River near Bonners Ferry 70-90 years ago to prevent flooding of the adjacent fields. Studies have shown that the flooded plains help young fish to grow after spawning, rather than being flushed downstream. IDFG and the Kootenai Tribe have been working to restore populations of burbot and white sturgeon. A nutrient addition project was implemented near the Montana-Idaho border in 2005, where Phosphorus and Nitrogen are injected into the river. This has improved the fisheries immediately downstream of the injection point and a second nutrient addition point is being considered near the confluence with the Moyie River. Burbot fishing was closed on the river in 1992, but with the increases in the population, burbot fishing was reopened in 2018. At about 59 minutes into the presentation, a video about the burbot was played, but the audio was poor. Here is a link to that video.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SK-5KHdjkM&feature=youtu.be
Carrie Hugo, Wildlife Biologist with the BLM office in Coeur d’Alene, conducted this class about bats on June 12, 2020. The presentation included information about evolution, natural history, echolocation, hibernation, migration and ecology of North American bats, with an emphasis on Idaho bats. There are 14 species of bats in Idaho and 10 of those in North Idaho. One bat can eat 1200 mosquitoes in an hour – they are great at natural pest control.
Carrie Hugo, Wildlife Biologist with the BLM office in Coeur d’Alene, conducted this class about birds on June 12, 2020. The presentation included information about how birds help us understand ecosystems and are great indicators of habitat quality. Carrie presented the natural history of birds, including unique adaptations, such as their respiration, keen eyesight, feathers and complex communication. Some birds migrate thousands of miles annually, with Arctic Terns migrating the farthest – over 12,000 miles one way from the Arctic to Antarctica and then returning to the Arctic to breed the next year. She includes information about many birds of North Idaho, predator/prey species, seed dispersers, pollinators, breeding, nesting, apps and field guides.
Chase Youngdahl, Bonner County Weeds Manager, conducted this class about noxious weeds of Idaho, with a focus on Bonner County. Weeds are either annual, biennial or perennial. There are 67 weeds on Idaho’s noxious weeds list and Bonner County has 7 additional weeds that are on its list of noxious weeds that are not on the state list. There are currently 28 noxious weeds in Bonner County. Chase covered many of the more frequently-found weeds in the county. The presentation included Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) weeds (meaning if you have them, eradicate them quickly), including leafy spurge, scotch thistle, tansy ragwort, scotch broom, large knotweeds and yellow flag iris. Chase also presented information on some weeds that can have beneficial uses, with medicinal or edible properties and he included information about the types of treatment used to control weeds
Danielle Malesky, Entomologist with the USDA Forest Health Protection office in Coeur d’Alene, conducted this class in early July for our chapter about Entomology and Forest Health Protection. Idaho is part of two Forest Health Protection regions: Northern Region 1 (with offices in Coeur d’Alene and Missoula) and Intermountain Region 4 (with offices in Boise and Ogden). Danielle’s presentation included information about management and monitoring of the forests (including aerial surveys), insect and disease publications, insect morphology, insect ecology and beetle-kills of trees. The presentation also includes references to local offices of the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), the U of I Extension Forestry group and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, where individual landowners can get help if they have issues with their trees dying from insect or root diseases.
This presentation was conducted in late July by Cari Hudson, local herbalist, and Pat Meyers, Education Chair for IMN’s Pend Oreille Chapter. The presentation included a discussion about wildcrafting and warnings about making sure that the plants that are collected are not poisonous “look-alikes”. Cari told the class that everyone who wildcrafts should have activated charcoal capsules handy in case poisonous plants are ingested and you are not close to a medical treatment facility. A link to the Poisonous Plants of North Idaho was shown. The Biota of North America Program (BONAP) plant atlas link was presented, showing the class how to find out if a plant grows in the area (tabulated by genus). Those links are below:
The presentation included sections on Medicinal “Weeds” (plants usually considered weeds by the public), Medicinal Herbs, Wild Edible Plants of the Northwest, Mosquito-Repellent Plants and references to publications.
On October 9, 2020, Andy Buddington, Geology Instructor at Spokane Community College, conducted this presentation about the Priest River Metamorphic Core Complex for the Pend Oreille Chapter of the Idaho Master Naturalists. Andy’s research involves study of local and regional geology and tectonics, as well as mineral deposits. He has published several papers on Precambrian rocks of the Priest River metamorphic complex. Andy discussed how younger sedimentary layers of suprastructure rocks have been detached along fault lines from the underlying metamorphic basement rocks, which have been uplifted to the surface in some areas via tectonics and pressure. The exposed outcrops of “basement” rocks had once been 20 to 25 miles below the surface. The presentation includes the history of the Priest River metamorphic core complex, from the initial deposition of Precambrian “Belt sea” sediments to the crustal extension, uplift and unroofing of sedimentary layers about 50 Million years ago.
The Priest River Complex includes Hauser Lake gneiss (1.48 Billion years old) and Laclede augen gneiss outcrops (1.58 Billion years old) and even older Pend Oreille gneiss outcrops at 2.65 billion years old. A field trip conducted by Andy on October 10 gave the class viewings of these rock outcrops along the Pend Oreille River near Laclede and Priest River.
On Saturday morning, October 17, 2020, Don Childress, Pend Oreille Chapter member of IMN, presented an online presentation about edible mushrooms in our area. Don discussed such mushrooms as morels, chanterelles, lobster, boletes, puffballs, shaggy mane, coral and many other varieties. He also pointed out several varieties of mushrooms that look similar to edible types, but are toxic or poisonous (such as false morels and false chanterelles). Lobster mushrooms are parasitic to russula mushrooms and are a great prize this time of year. Anyone searching for mushrooms in the wild must be very careful to be certain that what they harvest is edible. Don does not eat any mushrooms raw and he cleans and dries all his mushrooms prior to cooking them with his meals. The presentation includes reference books to help identify wild mushrooms.
Following the online presentation, Don led a field trip to Trestle Creek, NE of Lake Pend Oreille, for an afternoon mushroom foraging event for our chapter. Thanks to recent rains, it was a very productive field trip, with many varieties being found. Thanks to Don for a great day!
On Thursday, October 22, 2020, Steve Holt and Matt Bambach, with input from Gray Henderson, presented to our chapter the status of Lake Pend Oreille Water Quality. These three gentlemen are members of the Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper (LPOW) organization. Travis Dickson of LPOW also assisted in the development of the presentation, but was not available during the webinar. Matt is also a member of our Pend Oreille Chapter of IMN.
LPOW is a non-profit organization in North Idaho, founded in 2009, whose Mission Statement is “to keep Lake Pend Oreille and other local waterways swimmable, fishable, and drinkable for future generations”. A primary focus of LPOW is a summertime Water Quality Monitoring Program, started in 2012 and currently consisting of 14 monitoring points on and near Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River. LPOW also provides advocacy to local, state and federal agencies, including monitoring permitting for any project that may impact the water quality of our local watershed. LPOW provides education about lake ecology to local elementary school classes and involves local high school seniors in a youth ambassadorship program, where the students assist in monitoring and analyzing the data.
The presentation included results of the monitoring program, where citizen science volunteers gather the samples. Eleven (11) different tests are conducted once a month from June through September for each of the monitoring stations. Samples of the water are sent to an EPA-approved lab for analysis and results are reported by LPOW on their website: https://www.lakependoreillewaterkeeper.org/ . The website includes advocacy issues, an interactive map of the monitoring sites and the associated results and LPOW’s outreach programs.
Matt also presented data on his Masters Thesis, where he gathered and analyzed many water quality parameters for six Minnesota lakes. Steve presented information about stormwater monitoring and assisting the City of Sandpoint in street improvement programs, including the addition of underground treatment of stormwater via cartridges that trap pollutants in vegetative swales. Go to LPOW’s website listed above for more information.