A River in Need
The Coeur d’Alene River flows from the magnificent Silver Valley of North Idaho into the picturesque Lake Coeur d’Alene. Inland Northwest residents and visitors alike have come to love the river for not only its scenery, but also its wildlife.
What you can’t necessarily see when you’re traveling along the river or riding on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes with the river at your side, however, is that the waterway has long been polluted by mining contamination. The decades of pollution from mine deposits has led to about 95 percent of the land along the river now testing positive for lead levels so high that they’re toxic to waterfowl.
450 tundra swans were found dead in the basin in 2019 alone
In 2019 alone, approximately 450 tundra swans were found dead in the area — a result of the accumulation of pollution. These swans are particularly susceptible to toxins in the soil because they burrow deep into the mud in search of food. This was a significant increase from the notable numbers of swan deaths in previous years and a sign that urgent action is needed to correct the damage that’s been done to this area.