Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that The Idaho Club intends to apply for a new permit to dredge and fill wetlands and waterways at the mouth of Trestle Creek on Lake Pend Oreille.
The Army Corps of Engineers suspended a prior permit issued to The Idaho Club in October 2022 in response to litigation filed by the Idaho Conservation League and the Center for Biological Diversity.
The permit that was suspended in 2022 included construction of a boat ramp, 124 boat slips, and five condominiums. It would require excavation of an island and peninsula, and remove 14,000 cubic yards of material from the lake and mouth of the creek. Wetlands would be filled to create space for five luxury residential units.
Trestle Creek is among the top three most important tributaries to Lake Pend Oreille for bull trout spawning. Bull trout are classified as a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act. Development is listed as one of the top threats to bull trout habitat in Trestle Creek.
The documents obtained through the public records request show that The Idaho Club submitted a revised application to the Corps on February 1, 2023. The proposed marina and residential development is essentially the same as prior interactions of the proposal. However, The Idaho Club removed the proposed boat ramp from the proposal in response to an email from the Idaho Department of Lands, stating:
“Given the high profile nature of this project, it is likely that someone would call for a Public Hearing on the overall project…We had a hearing last year for a community dock development in Camp Bay that also requested a boat launch. We recommended denial of the boat launch in that hearing and the Hearing Officer and the Director of IDL agreed and denied it. This is due to the fact that the lake already has sufficient boat launches available…”
The Corps also responded with a letter on March 1st requesting additional information. In particular, the Corps stated:
“The application must also include either a statement describing how impacts to waters of the United States are to be compensated for or a statement explaining why compensatory mitigation should not be required for the proposed impacts.”
The Idaho Club must also show that the project is in the public’s interest. Given that the project would only benefit residents of The Idaho Club, it’s hard to imagine that it could be argued that the project is in the public’s best interest. The scale tips in favor of denying the project due to the impact on bull trout. Recovery of bull trout is in the best interest of the public.
ICL will continue to monitor the situation and do what we can to protect Trestle Creek. To stay updated on this work and opportunities to take action, sign up for our email updates.