The Idaho Transportation Department announced Aug. 30 that it would soon transfer the ownership of five parcels of wetlands—nearly 160 acres valued at approximately $1 million—to the Coeur d'Alene Tribe.
This morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that that transfer will follow nearly 13 years of planning, construction and wetlands restoration in connection with the realignment of U.S. 95 between Worley and Mica Creek in North Idaho.
ITD was required by the U.S. Clean Water Act to offset environmental impacts to the wetlands by the highway construction project. The department and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe agreed that the requirement would be fulfilled by the purchase of additional private parcels in the Lake Creek drainage, which would then be transferred to the Tribe for permanent management and protection.
The Press reports that four of the parcels are already within the boundaries of the Coeur d'Alene Reservation and the fifth parcel is adjacent to the northwest boundary of the reservation.
"From the beginning, we all agreed that ITD would identify and develop the sites, bring them to a successful state and then transfer them to the Tribe for the long-term stewardship of the wetland sites," ITD engineer Damon Allen told the Press.