Kootenai Environmental Alliance was in attendance at the first ever Makers Faire put on by Gizmo-Cda this past Saturday. Staff rotated shifts throughout the day with my shift being the last shift of the day. It was an event full of makers, doers, educators, and inventors. Anyone in attendance would have been able to find something there to light up their imagination. I left with a pair of earrings made from recycled bicycle inner tubes.

As the newest member of the team it was an eye opening learning experience for me. I did my homework on the Watershed Model, memorized the number of catch basins (storm drains/grates), manholes, and the outfalls here in the city of Coeur d’Alene, and updated myself on all things KEA. Soon realizing there is a lot more I have to educate myself on, but looking forward to doing just that.

I was able to talk to quite a few people during my 3 hour tour and quickly started to realize that a lot of people were unaware that everything that ran out into their street had a final destination of the Spokane River and Coeur d’Alene Lake. There were those that were happy to know that information with a small majority who seemed like they would rather not have known.

What is that? You weren’t aware of it either? Well you have come to the right place! There are 2700 catch basins that lead to 12 outfalls into the Spokane River and Coeur d’Alene Lake. Without any type of filter any where along the way the soap, animal waste, oil, antifreeze, cigarette butts, garbage, etc. all travels along the 150+ miles of hard piped system to… the river and the lake.

Here is a handy presentation that can explain it a bit more.

On the bright side there are things you can start to do right now to help keep our waterways clean.

  • Wash you car on your lawn or at a car washing facility
  • Pick up animal waste
  • Pick up trash
  • Install grassy swales or other vegetation to act as a filter for the water
  • Use Eco-friendly chemicals and fertilizers
  • Become a volunteer with Kootenai Environmental Alliance

Would Love to hear your thoughts and ideas on keeping our waterways clean now and into the future so please comment below. (Please keep all comments free of profanity and be respectful of others. Otherwise we will delete your comments.)

Author: `

Jamie Lynn Morgan, New KEA part-time staff, use my bicycle as my main form of transport (yes, even in the winter), resident of North Idaho for 28 years, born and raised in Montana, married with three children, and still pinch myself all the time that we live in such a beautiful place. Let’s keep it that way!