Official Government Website

Leading Idaho and Coeur d’Alene Lake

Governor Brad Little - Leading Idaho Project

Coeur d’Alene Lake, located in Idaho’s Panhandle, has long been a hub for recreation, tourism, and economic activity. The area is also home to historical mining activity, and millions of tons of metals-laden sediments (e.g., zinc, lead, and cadmium) are present in the lake bottom. More recent land uses continue to contribute to the addition of excess nutrient loading, especially phosphorus. Elevated phosphorus levels can affect the chemistry in deep water near the lakebed where these heavy metals are contained. This could lead to low oxygen levels that unlock these metals and release them into the environment.  

Although water quality in the lake has improved over the last several decades, phosphorus levels have been increasing. Managing phosphorus levels is critical to protecting the health of Coeur d’Alene Lake, and in 2021, Governor Little established the Coeur d’Alene Lake Advisory Committee and directed $2 million in Leading Idaho funds for projects that reduce phosphorus and improve water quality in Coeur d’Alene Lake. The following year, Idaho directed an additional $31 million from the American Rescue Plan Act funds to further the Leading Idaho effort. 

The Coeur d’Alene Lake Advisory Committee solicited project proposals in August 2021 and recommended funding for 19 cleanup projects. DEQ is currently working with funding recipients to implement these projects, which will take place through 2026. 

See DEQ’s Coeur d’Alene Lake Advisory Committee storymap for more information about ongoing cleanup projects.   

Leading Idaho Funding Overview

The following table includes Leading Idaho projects that have funding agreements in place. 

Project NameLeading Idaho FundingEstimated Phosphorus Reduction to
Coeur d’Alene Lake (Annually)
Mica Creek Floodplain Access Improvement Project$56,512200 pounds
City of Kellogg Stormwater Management Upgrades (Phases 1, 2, and 3)$2.24 million 700 pounds
Third Street Avenue Stormwater Volume Reduction Project$190,00035 pounds
Risk-Based Evaluation of Selected Recreational Areas in Coeur d’Alene Lake and Spokane River$855,000NA—This project will guide future decisions about health evaluations or mitigation activities.
Wolf Lodge Creek Improvement Project$158,33794 pounds
Schlagel Draw Sediment Management Project$24,29310 pounds
North Fork Coeur d’Alene Riverbank Stabilization Project$44,02712 pounds
Santa-Fernwood Wastewater Reuse Project$7.01 million660 pounds
Page Wastewater Treatment Plant Tertiary Treatment System$17 million7,015 pounds (to the Coeur d’Alene River)
St. Joe River Basin Nutrient Source Inventory$1.2 millionNA—This project will help identify and prioritize effective nutrient management actions.
Coeur d’Alene Lake Science Coordination Team$150,000NA—This project will establish priorities and guide future decisions relating to Coeur d’Alene Lake.
Northside Stormwater Drainage Improvements (Sunnyside Road)$643,840NA—This project will decrease sediment discharge to Coeur d’Alene Lake.
Kellogg Joint School District #391 Stormwater Improvements$745,00041 pounds (to the South Fork Coeur d’Alene River)
Coeur d’Alene Stormwater Volume Reduction Project$1.4 million280 pounds
Northside Stormwater Drainage Improvements (Marmot Trail Road)$14,100NA—This project will decrease sediment discharge to Coeur d’Alene Lake.
Mica Creek Watershed Agricultural Sediment Reduction and Improvement Project (Phase 2)$49,00050 pounds

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Lake Management Plan Supervisor

Jamie Brunner
(208) 666-4623

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