Monitoring Water Quality on Priest Lake

Water quality is important aspect of almost all business, homeowners and visitors to the Priest Lake region. A 1996 Recreational User Survey that was conducted by the U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Lands and the University of Idaho indicated that the number of recreation user days to the Priest Lake drainage nearly topped those of Glacier National Park in Montana. This study also found that 50 percent to those recreation user days were associated with water-based recreation such as, shoreline camping, boating, swimming and fishing. All of this above mentioned activities are closely, if not intimately connected with water quality.

Hence, we conduct routine water quality monitoring on Priest Lake in conjunction with Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and water samples are collected to submitted to laboratory for analysis Chlorophyll-a and Phosphorous. Measurements of water temp and dissolved oxygen are also conducted.


SCA Water Quality Monitoring work
at Priest Lake includes:

  • In the early 1990s, the SCA supported researchers who were completing the baseline studies used to prepare the 1995 Priest Lake Management Plan.  This included the sponsored the “Priest Lake Monitors” who actively provided water quality testing around the lake.  Since 2008 the SCA has worked with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, leading Priest Lake’s Citizen Voluntary Monitoring Program (CVMP).
  • The SCA strongly advocated for local sewer system development around Priest Lake, which was successfully implemented in five districts.
  • The SCA currently provides staff or board resources to participate in the following regional water oversight groups:  Bonner County Lakes Commission, Idaho Water Resources Board Priest Lake Management Study Updates, Thorofare Breakwater Study Group, and the Priest Lake Fisheries Action Committee.

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