Since 2012, LPOW’s Water Quality Monitoring program has collected important data from all over Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River in an effort to keep our watershed clean for years to come. When reflecting on this program’s success, our volunteers cannot go unrecognized. Thank you so much for your time and your dedication to keeping our lake clean. This program has been noted as one of the most important volunteer programs in north Idaho, and I am so proud of all the great work you all have done. Without you, this program would not be possible. From all of us at LPOW: Thank you.
LPOW recently announced that we are handing off our WQMP, testing, and advocacy programs to the Idaho Conservation League (ICL). For nearly 50 years, ICL has been a pillar of environmental advocacy throughout our state. Their work to engage with the public, work with elected leaders, and protect our environment has led to significant outcomes and victories for all of us that call Idaho home. We are grateful for their interest in continuing the work that LPOW has been doing for over 10 years. Thanks to committed funding from LPOW and several of our funders, ICL will now be able to hire a full-time staff person in Sandpoint who will be dedicated to addressing issues that threaten not only Lake Pend Oreille, but also Lake Coeur d’Alene and Priest Lake. This new position will also ensure that our WQMP will continue to move forward with an increased opportunity for expansion.
LPOW has been working diligently with ICL for the past few months to guarantee a smooth transition for our advocacy work, and most importantly, our WQMP. The only significant changes that will happen for this upcoming season are who will be managing the program and where volunteers will drop off their samples once collected. We really value the support of our volunteers during this transition and look forward to the future of water quality monitoring in north Idaho.
I really appreciate all the time I’ve gotten to spend with our volunteers and the connections I’ve been able to build over the past year. This community has made my time here at LPOW unforgettable and incredibly valuable. That is why, with a heavy heart, I am announcing that I have chosen to leave Sandpoint in order to explore new and exciting places. This spring, I will be returning to the US Forest Service to work as a seasonal Biological Science Technician looking for endangered amphibians in alpine meadows, performing riparian habitat surveys, and exploring the trails of the Sierra National Forest. Saying goodbye to LPOW and north Idaho will not be easy, but I will undoubtedly return to visit friends, family, and our beautiful lake. I am excited for what the future holds and the adventures that await.
Finally, I am happy to announce that we have set the first date for our WQMP citizen scientist training: April 12th at 5:30PM. This will be during my last week at LPOW and I hope to see many of you there. Please let me know if you will be able to be there. Another training date will be set for late April/early May if you are unable to attend on April 12th.
Once again, thank you to our volunteers for all they have done for LPOW. I am so fortunate for my time here and will always be thankful for the community that inspired me to work hard every day. This was an incredible experience and it would not have been the same without you. I will always be proud of the work that I was able to accomplish during my time at LPOW and consider myself really lucky to have had this opportunity. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out. We sincerely appreciate your support of this transition. For more details, please read Steve’s letter to the community on our website. We are also working with ICL to plan a community event on Thursday, March 31st, where you will be able to come talk to LPOW and ICL staff and board members about this transition. We hope to see you there!