Friday, June 21, 2024

Groups will closely watch Trestle Creek project

| May 31, 2022 1:00 AM

On May 11, Bonner County commissioners approved modifications to a proposed marina and residential development at the mouth of Trestle Creek on Lake Pend Oreille. The “Idaho Club North Lake Planned Unit Development” includes plans for 100 boat slips, a boat ramp, boat storage facilities and five residential units at the mouth of the creek. The property is owned by the Idaho Club, which also owns and operates the Idaho Club Golf Course on the lower Pack River.

The project was originally approved by Bonner County in January 2021. These most recent modifications to the site plan were relatively insignificant. The Idaho Club sought and received approval to consolidate three proposed boat storage facilities into one building and relocate parking areas and a community leach field.

Trestle Creek is the single most important stream for bull trout spawning in the Pend Oreille Basin. Bald eagles roost and nest in the cottonwood trees on the property. Deer and moose browse the luscious forage on the site, and there is an active beaver dam.

The modifications approved by the Commissioners do nothing to address the egregious environmental impacts associated with the development. The plan calls for dredging wetlands and removing an island to create a bay for the marina. The dredged material will be used to fill other wetlands on the site where the residential units will be constructed. Trestle Creek and its north branch will be confined to a simplified channel, lacking the structure and diversity that bull trout and other fish need to thrive.

Bonner County commissioners would not hear testimony on the project as whole, instead limiting public comments to the proposed modifications. Although the commissioners were unpersuaded by our concerns, there is still hope for Trestle Creek.

The Idaho Club must secure a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers in order to proceed with dredging and filling wetlands. The Idaho Conservation League and the Center for Biological Diversity will closely monitor the Corps’ permitting process and do everything we can to protect Trestle Creek and its fish and wildlife.

Brad Smith is the North Idaho director of the Idaho Conservation League.