The Pend Oreille Chapter of the Idaho Master Naturalist Program will be sharing their recordings of 2021 education sessions. Links to recordings can be found here and this document will be added to over the course of the spring and summer.
Pend Oreille Chapter Video Information
Below is information about each of the videos created by the Pend Oreille Chapter – to be used when videos are posted on the Master Naturalist Website.
This presentation was presented by Lynn Pietz and Pat Meyers, IMN members of the Pend Oreille on April 3, 2021. 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”. It is a great book prompting readers to care more about learning from nature and how we can be better stewards of our natural world. It is a “must read” for Master Naturalists.
This presentation was by Molly McCahon, Executive Director of the Lakes Commission in Sandpoint, on April 8, 2021. Molly presented information about watersheds and methods to improve water quality in the watersheds. She also covered non-point source pollution concerns, stream bank protections, Bonner County land ownership, forest management and permitting requirements, planning and zoning requirements and concerns, aquatic invasive species, fisheries, lake and river level management and Industry impacts on the watersheds.
Molly also included information and links to agencies involved with land and water use in the area, plus listed several volunteer opportunities working with local agencies.
This presentation was by Laura Wolf, Wildlife Biologist with IDFG in Coeur d’Alene on April 15, 2021. Laura presented information about differentiation between billies and nannies (both have horns). She discussed their habitat as well as the locations in Idaho. Mountain goat behavior was discussed, including their habituation to humans, trying to get salty snacks or even licking sweaty humans to get salt. Some herds in Idaho have been translocated to traditional habitats that were missing the herds. Threats to the mountain goat populations in Idaho were presented. IDFG has done frequent aerial surveys and have a comprehensive management plan.
This presentation was by Barb Moore, Population Biologist with IDFG in Coeur d’Alene on April 15, 2021. Barb presented the latest information about the ongoing cow and calf elk survival monitoring that has taken place for the past 7 years in the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe River areas and the surrounding forests. Nearly 500 cows and 6-month old calves have been collared since 2014. 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. Cow survival has been 89% over the years, but calf survival over their first winter and spring has varied significantly during mild to severe winters (over 80% during mild winters to under 50% during severe winters). Generally, mountain lions are the primary predator of the calves.
This presentation was by Dr. Francine Mejia, who has monitored local streams, such as the Pend Oreille and Priest Rivers, and Eric Berntsen with the Kalispel Tribe Natural Resources Department, on April 17, 2021. Francine’s portion of the presentation focused primarily on studies that have taken place to monitor the temperatures of local rivers, with a focus of targeting colder water areas for the purpose of enhancing the fish population in those areas of the river. A recent temperature monitoring program on the Priest River was completed in 2018, with volunteers from Trout Unlimited and the Master Naturalists floating segments 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 an upcoming project where Indian Creek flows into the Pend Oreille River a few miles west of Newport. Additional restoration projects are planned for several years on the Kalispel Tribe’s properties. Note that due to confidentiality reasons, a portion of Francine’s presentation has been excluded from this shared file.
Erin Mader Plue, Coeur d’Alene Basin Project Manager for Trout Unlimited, presented “The Coeur d’Alene Basin, the Fishery, and Stream Restoration” on April 22, 2021. The challenges for the CDA Basin include: Mining waste, invasive species, nutrient loading, boating; summer inundation, timber, different management objectives for regulatory entities. Erin covered the varieties of fish in the basin, which includes the Coeur d’Alene River, St Joe River, Lake Coeur d’Alene and Spokane River flowing from the lake, plus many minor tributaries. Attributes of healthy streams were presented as well as many events that have changed the local streams, such as barriers, mining, logging, agriculture, etc.
Trout Unlimited is involved in stream restoration and small dam removal projects. The Red Ives Dam Removal Project and Prichard Creek Restoration Project were highlighted, including rerouting streams to be closer to the original meandering stream before mining operations moved and straightened the streams. References resources, three videos and a new article are included:
Ninemile Creek Restoration - https://vimeo.com/277482384
Prichard Creek Restoration - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H27WDPq8OY0
Yankee Fork River Restoration - https://www.americanangler.com/yankee-fork-river-restoration-fix/
High Country News Article on CDA Lake Contamination - https://www.hcn.org/issues/51.11/pollution-a-dangerous-cocktail-threaten...
Filename: 9-Selkirk Outdoor Leadership-Education-SOLE-Apr21
Dennison Webb, Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Selkirk Outdoor Leadership & Education (SOLE) in Sandpoint, conducted this presentation on April 29, 2021. SOLE works with youth to “become active learners and responsible stewards of their community and its environment”. Their Core Values include:
Explore - providing opportunities for our youth to explore their local wild landscapes to develop a sense of belonging.
Achieve - providing opportunities for our youth to learn, develop, and grow in a holistic fashion.
Lead - providing opportunities for our youth to learn and develop authentic leadership in a purposeful manner.
Reach - providing opportunities for our youth to address personal, social and emotional health needs.
Teach - providing active and hands-on educational opportunities for our youth, mainly outdoors
Dennison showed a video of their Snow School program for all Lake Pend Oreille School District 5th Graders – a 3-day experiential program about winter ecology and snow science. It shows the students how to monitor snow packs and gives them an understanding that our fresh water supply in North Idaho depends on the snow pack each winter. The students dug snow pits and did profiles of the snow. After the snow school, the students have a much greater understanding of the local watershed. Over 2000 local youth have been through the snow school.
Here is the Snow School video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tlsXMj8V4k
On May 5, 2021, Brad Smith, North Idaho Director of Idaho Conservation League (ICL), conducted this presentation outlining differences between black bears and grizzly bears for identification purposes. Key distinguishing features include the shoulders, ears, face and front claws. Grizzly bears have a hump on the shoulders, which is higher than the rump, black bear ears are taller, grizzly bears have s dished face profile and black bear front laws are much shorter than those for grizzlies.
Brad gave excellent advice on how to avoid conflict in the backcountry, including hiking in a group, making noise and proper storage of attractants. He discussed proper use of bear spray and noted that use of bear spray is a better deterrent than firearms.
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 7, 2021. 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 7, 2021. 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, which can be seen separately here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_FEaFgJyfA (How Does an Owl Fly so Silently?)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SI73-Ka51E (How Does an Owl’s Hearing Work?)
This presentation was conducted by Carla Burnside, US Fish and Wildlife Zone Archaeologist from the Spokane area. The presentation includes a history of the glaciers, forming lakes via ice dams and the rupture of those ice dams causing catastrophic floods. Glacial Lake Missoula broke out at the Clark Fork River delta at least 89 times. 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, giant bison, woodland muskox, camels and many other mammal other species were present. The evolution of hunting tools from spears to bows and arrows was outlined.
Carla explained how white sturgeon migrated from the Lake Pend Oreille area over the Elmira Spillway to the Kootenai River system when retreating ice sheets blocked the flow of the Kootenai River, creating Glacial Lake Purcell that covered the high ground at Elmira. The presentation includes the findings and maps of David Thompson, who explored the area from 1808-1812.
Carrie Hugo, Wildlife Biologist with the BLM office in Coeur d’Alene, conducted this class about bats on May 14, 2021. The presentation included information about evolution, flight, natural history, echolocation and diet, hibernation, roosts, reproduction, 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. Carrie covered threats to bats, including white nose syndrome, which destroys their wing membranes. One bat can eat 1200 mosquitoes in an hour – they are great at natural pest control.
Related videos include:
• 1.5 million Mexican Free-Tailed Bats leaving the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin Texas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwWGvf38TVM
• Bracken Cave Preserve – home to 20 million Mexican Free-Tailed bats near San Antonio, Texas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVSjIxGQ3Aw
• Bracken Cave and other Texas bats on radar: https://weather.com/news/weather/video/bats-on-texas-radar
Phil Hough, Executive Director of the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness (FSPW), conducted this class about the Scotchman Peaks and volunteer opportunities on May 27, 2021. The presentation included information about the location of the wilderness, partly in Idaho NE of Clark Fork and mostly in Montana, north of the Clark Fork River valley and west of the Bull River. Beautiful photos of the wilderness are included. FSPW stewardship projects include trail maintenance, Citizens’ Science Wildlife and Habitat Studies and Natural Resource Education. Volunteering as a Trail Ambassador is available, primarily to educate hikers about the need to stay away from mountain goats, some of whom have developed a habit of approaching humans for salty snacks or licking them for salt.
You can find out more at their website: www.scotchmanpeaks.org
This video includes two presentations about the water quality of Lake Coeur d’Alene and the Coeur d’Alene Basin, from June 4, 2021. The first is by Rebecca Stevens, Program Manager for the CDA Tribe’s Lake Management Department-Hazardous Waste Management Program. Rebecca also serves the role as the Restoration Coordinator with the Restoration Partnership, a consortium of partners from Washington and Idaho (see the first link below for more about the Restoration Partnership). The second presentation is by Dr. Craig Cooper, Limnologist for Idaho DEQ in Coeur d’Alene.
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 and river riparian areas with significant heavy metals, resulting in the death of waterfowl, fish and aquatic life. These presentations address the history, restoration and remediation efforts to improve the water quality of the area. Dr. Cooper’s portion of the webinar is entitled Environmental Challenges in Coeur d’Alene Lake. It includes data on the heavy metals found in the CDA river and lake sediments and mitigations to minimize those heavy metals rising into the water levels. Oxygen levels in the lake bottom waters must be maintained to keep the lake healthy.
Related links are below. The second one covers guidelines for landscaping and irrigation to minimize impact in the rivers and lakes.