In 2009, a group of Sandpoint community members came together to form the Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper (LPOW). This nonprofit served as the watchdog for water quality of Lake Pend Oreille and related waters, with the goal of keeping these waters drinkable, fishable and swimmable for future generations. They began the Water Quality Monitoring Program for Lake Pend Oreille, and grew a strong, informed community of lake advocates.
In 2021, LPOW decided to close their doors after 12 years of service and approached ICL about taking on their water quality advocacy. ICL’s North Idaho Lakes Advocacy program officially launched in 2022 with the hiring of our first full-time staff member dedicated to protecting water quality in the panhandle. We saw an opportunity to expand this program beyond Lake Pend Oreille to protect the other waters, and our Lakes Advocacy program now aims to protect Lake Pend Oreille, Lake Coeur d’Alene, Priest Lake, the Kootenai River and more for now and future generations.