By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
The Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to revoke its permit for the Trestle Creek Marina, citing changes to the proposed project and “significant objections to the authorized activity that were not earlier considered” — in particular, objections to possible impacts on vital bull trout habitat.
The Corps permitted the marina — proposed by property owner The Idaho Club and parent company Valiant Idaho II, LLC — in 2019, but suspended it in 2021 to obtain updated Endangered Species Act consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In a Sept. 15 letter to Valiant managing member William Haberman, the Corps announced its intentions to revoke the permit by Sept. 26 unless Valiant requested a meeting “to present information on this matter.”
“The Army Corps made the right call by pulling the plug on its permit for this highly destructive development,” said Whitney Palmer of the Center for Biological Diversity, which, in conjunction with the Idaho Conservation League, sued the Corps and USFWS on Aug. 25 on the grounds that the permit and biological opinion were legally deficient.
“We have to protect bull trout habitat from any project that forever alters the lake and stream these treasured fish depend on,” Palmer continued. “We expect nothing less for the crucial area around Trestle Creek.”
Palmer told the Reader that federal officials informed the Center for Biological Diversity Sept. 27 that Valiant had requested a meeting with the Corps and the Sept. 26 permit revocation date had been extended to Oct. 12. Specifically, Palmer relayed, “the Corps anticipates taking action on the proposal to revoke the 2019 Permit” on Oct. 12.
In the meantime, the permit’s suspension remains and work cannot occur on the marina, which is proposed to feature more than 100 boat slips, a large parking lot, several residential homes and more.
According to a media release from the conservation groups opposed to the project, “once the Corps revokes the permit, any new permit for this development would need to go through proper environmental review.”
“This would require the Corps to complete an environmental impact statement, a public interest review, full notice and comment process and new consultation with [USFWS] under the Endangered Species Act to ensure threatened and endangered species wouldn’t be harmed,” the statement continued. “The Corps would also need to determine the effects the project would have on wetlands and could potentially require the developer to purchase credits through a wetland mitigation bank.”
Bull trout were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1999. In 2010, USFWS designated critical habitat for bull trout, including Trestle Creek.
Haberman of Valiant Idaho II, LLC declined to comment on the Corps’ decision to revoke the marina’s permit.
While we have you ...
... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.
You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal