Selkirk Conservation Alliance is a small, nonpartisan, grassroots, environmental nonprofit organization that has been working to protect and conserve the land, air, wildlife, forests and waters of the lower Selkirk Mountains for the last 36 years. SCA is the ONLY environmental nonprofit whose sole focus of FUNDS, TIME, EXPERTISE, RESEARCH and ADVOCACY encompasses the Priest Lake and Priest River Watersheds and Basin. SCA is one of the oldest and ONLY environmental non-profit organizations that exists in northern Idaho. We are quite unique in that SCA has, for the last 36 years, been the nexus of environmental conservation and environmental education for our community. We have been working hard for decades to engage our community in advocacy and bring their voices to the table on regional land use issues that would negatively impact their local environments and natural resources; air, land, wildlife, forests and water. With a staff of only 1.5, SCA is almost entirely “powered” by volunteers from our local communities and our all-volunteer Board of Directors.
SCA has three “pillar” programs; Environmental Education, Environmental Advocacy and Scientific Research. Under each of these “pillar” programs we have projects associated with furthering SCA’s mission to “Engage the public in southern Selkirk resource and land management issues through cooperation, scientific inquiry, education and economic diversification.” Our Education pillar program works to provide low income, rural & Tribal youth in our area with hands on, outdoor environmental educational experiences outside of their classrooms. Our "Living-Classroom" field trips get local students, outdoors learning principles and concepts of natural resources protection, climate change, conservation biology, natural sciences, ecology, water quality protection and more with regional scientists and natural resources professionals. Our Education program also has projects that seek to provide environmental education to our local community & to that end we give many talks & presentations, participate at local events & organize volunteer opportunities for our community members!
As an organization, SCA is taking a strategic approach to using participatory science projects to strengthen environmental protection. To that end we have worked to build capacity for community-based participatory science by establishing two robust citizen science water quality monitoring programs in the Priest Lake & Priest River Watersheds. Through these programs SCA is able to work more effectively with regional natural resource management agencies and the Kalispel Tribe to pro-actively identify and address the most pressing surface water quality threats in our region.
Under the Advocacy pillar program we have boots on the ground projects such as clean-ups & restoration work as well as watchdogging federal, state and local government agencies for plans, projects, & development that would negatively impact our regional environment. SCA regularly challenges local governments and agencies through direct public engagement, grassroots education and direct actions. SCA has aided in the permanent conservation of old growth forests, critical shoreline habitats & wetlands (and other) in our region and is always working to promote smart development that preserves the local environment for human and wildlife health.
Who We Are
Selkirk Conservation Alliance was formed in 1986 by a group of local citizens who were concerned over the excessive logging of forests within the Priest Lake watershed. Over the years SCA has been involved in many aspects of conservation and preservation of the air, land, forests, wetlands, wildlife and water of the lower Selkirk Mountain range. SCA has helped to put a stop to the Newport smelter, aided in the permanent conservation of old growth forests, critical shoreline habitats & wetlands (and other) in our region and is always working to promote smart development that preserves the local environment for human and wildlife health. SCA has, for decades worked with the community and regional and county officials to get common sense, conservation oriented regulations in place in Land Use Codes (LUC), Comprehensive plans and other that work to protect and conserve sensitive ecosystems, rare habitats, wildlife reintroduction zones, surface and ground water, Threatened and Endangered species, air quality and so much more! SCA has organized and advocated for regional endangered species and habitat protection for many species including the Woodland Caribou, Grizzly Bear, Canadian Lynx, Bull Trout, Wolverine and White Bark Pine (to name a few). SCA also advocates for forest conservation and old growth stand protection on state and federal forest lands. Most recently SCA’s advocacy work helped to conserve one of the region’s most important Bull Trout spawning streams (Trestle Creek) from development and we are currently actively battling development in the Coolin-Chase Lake Wetlands and the Sandpiper Shores- Mosquito Bay Fen Wetland from rampant development. SCA works hard to hold our local governments, state and federal agencies accountable and let the public know just what is happening in their own back yards!
We have found that educating, empowering and involving our community has been our greatest tool for preserving the environmental integrity of the exquisitely beautiful and biologically diverse ecosystems of northern Idaho! It is the people that live here that care the most about conserving this place for their/our children’s children!