Lake Coeur d’Alene Waterkeeper


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“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” -H. Auden

Lake Coeur d’Alene Waterkeeper

The Lake Coeur d’Alene Waterkeeper program is an on-the-water advocate working to ensure that the Lake is swimmable, fish-able and drinkable! As your Waterkeeper, we work to protect against threats to the public’s water resources in the Coeur d’Alene Lake watershed through enforcement, community action, education, restoration, and advocacy.

Scientists report that declining oxygen levels may threaten the health and safety of Lake Coeur d’Alene. More than 75 million metric tons of toxic heavy metals (lead, cadmium, zinc, arsenic, antimony, copper and mercury) have been washing downstream from historic mining operations in the Upper Basin. Reduced oxygen levels increase the threat that these toxic metals, which are resting at the bottom of the lake, will become re-suspended in the water.

“Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, M.D. Discoverer of
Vitamin C

See a violation? Report to the Lake Coeur d’Alene Waterkeeper – Amy Anderson,

Pollution Hotline: (208) 667-9093

Report a Violation

Violation Form

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How You Can Help Keep

Lake Coeur d’Alene Clean


Non-point sources of phosphorus include eroded soils, plant matter, wildlife, pet and agricultural animal wastes, human waste, and fertilizers. Much of these sources are naturally occurring in the watershed, but social activities on land have accelerated the loading. Vegetative shoreline buffers aid in reducing erosion, absorbing pollutants, and provide vital habitat for wildlife. 

Unfortunately, only 25% of Lake Coeur d’Alene’s shoreline remains undisturbed vegetation, which contributes to warming waters, increasing erosion and phosphorus loading in the lake.

As a shoreline guardian, you can help keep Lake Coeur d’Alene fish-able, swimmable and drinkable by:

  • Keep at least 25-50 feet of natural vegetation along the shoreline to absorb pollutants and reduce erosion.
  • Pick up after your pets and use fertilizers sparingly, since everything eventually ends up in the lake.
  •  Host a neighborhood educational event so your neighbors can have the latest information as well.




When fishing, ensure that discarded hooks and lines are placed in an appropriately covered container to prevent wildlife from being injured by them. Abandoned fishing line can also be cut into short pieces to prevent it from wrapping around animals and birds.

Boating and Invasive Species

Wash boats, trailers, and fishing gear between trips and after recreating (especially out of state). Many types of invasive species, like mussels and Eurasian Watermilfoil, can be spread by boats and other recreational equipment. Be sure to remove any sediments and vegetation from all recreational vehicles and equipment, and always stop at boat inspection stations when transporting watercraft.


Avoid dumping wastewater and urinating in the Lake.


There are two types of pollution sources in Lake Coeur d’Alene. Point Source and Nonpoint Sources.

Point Sources of pollution come from pipes, like a wastewater treatment plant or industrial facility, which are monitored by an EPA permit.

Non-point Sources of pollution occur over a wide area and are often associated with particular land uses.

Most chemicals, metals, and trash get into the lake by stormwater runoff from rain and snowmelt, which flows either directly into the lake or storm drains that lead into the storm sewer system and then discharge directly into Coeur d’Alene Lake and the Spokane River without being treated.


What you can do:

  • Conserve water by installing low-flow appliances, replacing grass with drought-resistant native shrubs, installing rain or soil moisture sensors, or a hose bib timer on your sprinkler hoses.
  • Use phosphorus-free products (detergents and fertilizers).
  • Use extreme care in the type and quantity of chemicals applied to your lawn or avoid them entirely; follow label instructions for use and disposal of all lawn products.
  • Place used oil/lubricants/antifreeze/paints in sealed containers and recycle them at Kootenai County facilities; don’t dump them into storm drains/ditches or on the ground.
  • Seed or sod ground; divert runoff from hard surfaces (drives, sidewalks, patios, roofs) onto grassy areas; install a silt barrier to prevent water flow from taking soil particles with it.
  • Have your septic system checked periodically and have it pumped every three years for the best performance.

- Lady Bird Johnson

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