This past Friday the Coeur d Alene Indian Tribe’s Water Management group organized a World WaterDay event. Now, I have to be honest. I only KNEW, much less attended, the event because my husband was one of the speakers. I was one of a handful of non-tribal people. No businessmen. No representation from the State or the Federal Government. NOT ONE person from the city—even though the event was held at the library, a mere 100 feet away from City Hall. Press? I don’t believe so. The no-show is appalling because the presentation specifically laid out the immediate peril of our beloved Lake Coeur d’ Alene.
Here’s what I learned. Here’s what we can no longer ignore: LAKE COUER D’ ALENE’S WATER QUALITY IS RAPIDLY
- 72 million tons of tailings from mining operations have been deposited in our lake. (pursuant to the mining companies own records) The heavy metals include lead and arsenic. Additional heavy metal is still currently deposited into our lake.
- There is largely unchecked nutrient loading into our lake. “Nutrients” are organic pollution from many sources such as farming, septics, and construction.
- The nutrient loading results in the growth of algae and weeds. Bacteria feed on the dead plant growth which results in a depletion of Oxygen and a decline in PH levels. Low PH levels are releasing the heavy metals (essentially liquefying) from our Lake’s bed.
- The US Government and the CDA tribe installed a state of the art water quality monitoring system to track the release of the heavy metals. The warning system establishes when the release of heavy metals
havereached certain levelsaction is to be taken. Those levels are being reached. NO ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN.
What is the solution? CONTROL THE NUTRIENT LOADING. NOW.