The Restoration Partnership is soliciting restoration project ideas from the public and interested stakeholders Feb. 6 to March 20. Citizens, businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies and others are encouraged to submit ideas that will benefit natural resources in the Coeur d’Alene Basin.
Project ideas must meet the goals and objectives outlined in the Coeur d’Alene Basin Restoration Plan, which lays an outline for restoring the quality of resources like lakes, rivers, fish and waterfowl that were damaged by the release of historic mine waste. To submit a project idea and see selection criteria, visit the Restoration Partnership website.
This project is in response to more than 100 years of mining in the Coeur d’Alene Basin, which was one of the most productive silver, lead, and zinc mining areas in the United States, producing 7.3 million metric tons of lead and 2.9 million metric tons of zinc between 1883 and 1997.
Waste generated by mining operations contained hazardous metals, including lead, zinc, cadmium, and arsenic, which was released in the basin and caused sickness or death in certain wildlife species, such as tundra swans.
Fish and Game is a member of the Restoration Partnership Trustee Council, which is tasked with representing the public’s interest in restoring adversely effected natural resources and compensating for public losses, such as hunting and fishing opportunity.
The Restoration Partnership has been a part of Fish and Game projects in the past, including the Robinson Creek wetland restoration near Medimont. This project created 65 acres of wetland habitat for waterfowl in an area free from high levels of historic mine waste.
Trustees for the partnership will review and rank project ideas submitted. Once a project is selected, the partnership will invite the successful proponents to submit full applications.
The Restoration Partnership is made up of representatives from Fish and Game, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Coeur d’Alene Tribe, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service. This group serves as natural resources trustees, and it is responsible for implementing and overseeing restoration in the Coeur d’Alene Basin.