By Lyndsie Kiebert
Conservation groups opposed to a marina and housing development on Lake Pend Oreille announced July 7 that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reanalyze possible impacts of building a 124-slip marina and five homes at the mouth of Trestle Creek.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper and the Idaho Conservation League issued a notice of intent to sue in May, alleging that by approving the project, USFWS and USACE — along with possible defendants U.S. Department of Interior and Trestle Creek Investments, LLC — were violating the Endangered Species Act by damaging bull trout habitat.
“This project threatens one of Idaho’s most sensitive and precious freshwater fish species,” said Center for Biological Diversity attorney Kristine Akland. “We’re pleased that the Service has recognized that the agencies have a duty to ensure bull trout and their critical habitat in Trestle Creek aren’t unduly harmed.”
According to a media release, “the Service recommended that the Army Corps reinitiate consultation on the proposed development to ensure that it does not jeopardize the continued existence of bull trout or destroy critical habitat.” The Army Corps has not yet agreed to reevaluate its approval of the project.
“We’re grateful that the Service recognizes this process started over a decade ago and is willing to consider more recent data that confirms the sensitivity of the area,” said LPOW Executive Director Steve Holt. “Reviewing this project is simply the right thing to do.”
Representatives for the proposed development, known as the Idaho Club North Lake project, did not reply to a request for comment before press time.
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