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WATERLINE - March, 2014

2014 Regional Lakes Conference a big success

by Jeremy Jenkins, Lake Protection Manager, Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District

State-Map-2On February 8th, the 13th annual Eastern Washington/North Idaho Regional Lakes Conference convened with 120 folks participating. There were quite a few new faces in the audience at the Spokane Community College Student Union and even more familiar ones!

BiJay Adams, General Manager of Liberty Lake Sewer and Water District, and past organizer of the conference for more than ten years, opened the gathering, titled Collaborative Efforts in Lake and Watershed Management. He discussed the origins of the conference and how it has developed through the years. BiJay thanked all in attendance for getting involved with lake and water quality issues.

The conference hosted a great group of speakers this year, starting off with Megan Skinner, PhD student at Washington State University and winner of the 2013 NALMS Student Presentation Award. Megan presented her Master’s research on the effects of hypolimnetic oxygenation on fish-feeding ecology in Twin Lakes, Washington. Following Megan was a presentation by Laura Laumatia and Jamie Brunner of the Coeur d’Alene Lake Collaborative (formerly known as the Coeur d’Alene Lake Management Plan). They described past efforts in the Coeur d’Alene basin which had not been entirely successful. Laura and Jamie explained that, moving forward, they will use environmental education theories to create more meaningful connections between people, place, and the ecological impacts of historic mining waste discharges into the Coeur d’Alene system. A new website that will enhance this collaborative effort is nearly complete.

Next on the agenda were Tom Woolf of the Idaho Department of Agriculture and Mike Wilkinson of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, both of whom discussed aquatic invasive species control efforts in our region. They explained what their respective states are currently doing to combat aquatic invasive species, and what we may expect in the future. From Tom’s talk, listeners learned that flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus) has been identified in Lake Spokane and the Pend Oreille River system.

During lunch, Shannon Brattebo of Tetra Tech, Inc. gave an updated version of her 2013 WALPA/OLA and NALMS conference presentation on the recovery of Lake Spokane following reductions in wastewater phosphorus inputs. Her talk was especially relevant, as many listeners have followed nutrient reduction efforts in the Spokane River from the very beginning. It was inspiring to hear this success story, as the region’s dischargers face new NPDES permit requirements to further reduce phosphorus inputs to the river by 2021.

After lunch, Jim Ekins of the University of Idaho Extension presented a case study on volunteer involvement trends observed in the IdaH2O Master Water Stewards statewide volunteer monitoring program since its inception (http://www.uidaho.edu/cda/idah2o). The concluding speaker was Joan Hardy, Washington State Department of Health toxicologist, who presented some interesting statistics and programmatic insight into toxic cyanobacteria (aka HABs) in the state. Did you know that Washington is the only state to provide citizen with free toxicity testing of algae blooms? (For more information, visit http://goo.gl/rYqR4K.)

Aside from these great talks, but equally important to the success of the conference, there were plenty of networking opportunities bringing those from lake associations, scientific, environmental, recreational, governmental, and other communities together to discuss water management issues important to all present.

The conference would not have been the success it was without the support of our amazing sponsors. Many thanks to:

Advanced Eco-Solutions Inc., Avista Utilities, Clean Lakes, Inc., Cygnet Enterprises, Deer Lake Property Owners Association, Hach Hydromet, Hauser Lake Watershed Coalition, Inland Empire Paper Company, Inland Water Pest Control and Consulting, Lake Roosevelt Forum, Lakeland Restoration Services, Loon Lake Land Conservancy, Loon Lake Property Owners Association, Newman Lake Flood Control Zone District, Sacheen Lake Association, Spokane Conservation District, Spokane County Utilities, Spokane Tribe Water and Fish Program, SustainableWorks, Tetra Tech, Tshimakain Creek Labs, Water Resource Services, and YSI.

The 14th annual Regional Lakes Conference will be held next year on the same weekend (February 7, 2015), in the same location (Spokane Community College). Watch future issues of Waterline for more information. If you are interested in participating, or just learning more about this event, please email Jeremy Jenkins at jjenkins@libertylake.org.

IN THIS ISSUE

March 2014 HOME

2014 Regional Lakes Conference a big success

WALPA goes to Chelan next fall - save the date!

Does your chironomids' dinner give them gas?

Investigating the role of viruses in Microcystis sp. bloom collapse

WALPA offers 2014 student scholarships

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