Welcome to the 2023 Hayden Lake Watershed Spring Report
The months since our annual meeting have been busy for the Association. In spite of winter still having a grip on our lake, there is a lot going on in the watershed; some progress and some with disturbing repercussions.
To make this as reader friendly as possible, we have abbreviated some of the discussion points, with links to more detailed background notes for those interested in learning more.
Use the buttons below to jump to a favorite topic.
COMMISSIONERS CONSIDERING RESCINDING NO EXCESSIVE WAKE ORDINANCES:
The 300 foot no excessive wake zone ordinance that most of us feel has resulted in an improvement for shoreline and dock safety may be in jeopardy. Please use this link to read the Action Alert and Action Alert Update that we sent out asking that you write letters voicing your position and asking for a hearing before a decision is made.
A special meeting of the BOCC will tentatively be held on April 5th at 2:00 PM. The agenda will not be out until approximately March 31st, so we have no way of knowing if public testimony will be heard. We have been told that the Spokane River is the only waterway that the Commissioners are considering for now. However, since we have received conflicting information, we encourage you to attend this meeting.
SHOOTING SITE BERM RESTORATION ON FSR 437 COMPLETE
To block lead and other heavy metal contamination present within the old borrow pit located on Forest Service Rd. 437 from reaching Hayden Creek and Hayden Lake, the Forest Service approved restoring the low berm that crosses the open side of the informal shooting site. With implementation assistance and funding from the Hayden Lake Watershed Association, the project was completed in February.
Rain and snow-melt from this area, and from 437 itself, drain into Hayden Creek, the major tributary to Hayden Lake. Now that the berm project is complete, discussions are on-going about the proposed closure of 437 south of the borrow pit. The old logging road’s construction and location make it impossible to keep sediment laden runoff from reaching the creek and the lake. Access to the shooting site would continue to remain open via Ohio Match Rd.
CODE ENFORCEMENT WORKSHOP PLANNED
The Hayden Lake Watershed Association is hosting a workshop on May 9 to discuss code enforcement issues within Kootenai County, in particular reducing lakeshore degradation. The purposes are to understand the multi-jurisdictional responsibilities and to explore citizen and business support to improve outcomes.
The Association has been monitoring numerous building code violations that have resulted in tons of sediment added to the lake for several years. There is a great deal of frustration about the county’s inability to enforce existing codes. There is also the potential for finding other solutions that could improve the erosion control methods currently in use.
WEED TREATMENT PLANS
The ISDA confirmed a resurgence of Eurasian milfoil in areas that had been treated with ProcellaCor in 2019. They will be re-targeting those areas in 2023, (specifically Mokins, O’Rourke and McLeans Bays and other areas too, including parts of the north arm.). They observed that Curly Pond Weed treatments appear to have been successful, and that native species have gained a foothold in areas that were largely populated with invasive species.
The ISDA will notify residents when a treatment is eminent which may affect water usage for irrigation or recreation during the treatment period. We will also attempt to alert our members when we learn of such treatment plans.
COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS PLANNED
The health of our watershed is closely tied to the health of the forests around the lake. We have been working collaboratively with the forest service nursery staff discussing options and locations for re-planting seedlings in areas where the forest is stressed and damaged.
The HLWA is planning a tree planting project on .6 acres of National Forest land near Windy Creek in May. The site has suffered Douglas fir mortality, so volunteers will be replacing them with seedlings of other species. We will have more details soon, so watch our website for news about the project. We hope you will join us for a fun, productive morning, giving back to the forest that has given us so much.
UP IN SMOKE?
Although the air quality its generally good in the watershed, there are steps we can take to limit wood smoke pollution around the lake. For more information, visit our Wildfire Preparedness page.
HLWA President Emeritus
AVISTA PLANS UNDERGROUND TRANSMISSION LINES TO PREVENT FIRE DANGER AND FREQUENT TREE-FALL CAUSED POWER OUTAGES
After several years of correspondence with AVISTA representatives, we are pleased to report that AVISTA is planning to bury a major transmission line on the south side of the lake. This area has experienced many wind and tree-fall related power outages, particularly during winter months, which have caused hardships and inconvenience for residents.
The construction is slated to begin in June and completed by Fall 2023. The $480,000.00 price tag will be paid half by Avista, and half by federal infrastructure improvement funds routed from a state grant program. Apparently this project was the only one in Idaho that received this grant. We are grateful for AVISTA’s perseverance and look forward to fewer electrical outages next winter. For more background on specific construction locations and additional history, visit our Avista Power Underground page for a report from Geoff Harvey.
WATER QUALITY AND LAKE WATER LEVEL REPORT
Encouraging news here on several fronts: Water levels appear to be close to normal through the Fall and into the winter. In addition, data collected in 2022 by the Hayden Lake Watershed Improvement District show that the main body of the lake and the bays associated with the main body remain clear, low in the key plant growth nutrient phosphorous.
The exceptions were Mokins Bay and O’Rourke Bay in 2021, when lake water levels dropped significantly. During that time period the total phosphorous and chlorophyll concentrations rose. Fortunately those conditions improved when water levels returned to normal in 2022. (These negative conditions are habitual in the north arm, due to the shallow waters, and exacerbated by low lake water levels during dry years.). The WID and HLWA will continue to monitor the shallow bays for the next year.
For a deeper dive into Hayden Lake water quality reporting, including the 2022 Hayden Lake TMDL Implementation Plan Update Report visit our Water Quality Monitoring page.
On behalf of the HLWA board I would like to thank our members for their amazing response to our first ever annual dues letter. Many of you had asked to receive a reminder so we sent one out the end of January. Along with that dues reminder we included the USFS Release which acknowledged HLWA as paying towards the restoration work done at the borrow pit on USFS Road 437. The HLWA portion paid was $5,000. Please see a more detailed report from our President under ‘Shooting Berm Restoration.’
Your dues and donations also support our website which keeps our members informed on important current issues. Our Digital Communications Officer is a volunteer who manages the website, so the only cost is for the technology itself. While it is our job to inform you, it is your voices and letters to various agencies that have had a significant impact on preserving our beautiful Hayden Lake and its watershed.
This year, we will hold a workshop with government agencies, businesses, and many other stakeholders to address the continuation of building code violations around the lake which have a direct impact on both the water quality and watershed. This workshop will help to bring an integrated and coordinated effort to address these violations.
Please stop by our booth at Hayden Days this year; your financial support makes that educational opportunity possible..
Our members will receive an invitation to our annual meeting, in the late summer or early fall. Please attend as we will provide several opportunities for you to voice your concerns with the experts from various agencies.
These are just a few examples of your money at work. You, our members, are the stewards of this special area. Without your financial support we would be unable to help protect and restore the environmental health, sustainability, and scenic beauty of Hayden Lake and its watershed.
HLWA is a 100% volunteer organization. We are a public, non-profit 501c3 organization EIN 86-1130379 and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law per IRS Publication 526.
Again, thank you for your continued support.