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Our Gem: Lake is a Priority for the Future of Coeur d’Alene

| May 2, 2021 1:00 AM

One of the partners of the Our Gem Collaborative is CDA 2030, a community-based organization created to develop a vision for greater Coeur d’Alene’s future. CDA 2030 is a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort that began in 2013, engaging the community in a comprehensive visioning process to identify goals for the future of the region. The CDA 2030 board of directors is made up of 20 community members who advise on project goals, activities and outcomes.

CDA 2030 started by gathering information from thousands of citizens through public forums, workshops, social media, community surveys, interviews and focus groups. This community input was used to develop long-term goals to enhance the future of greater Coeur d’Alene through an implementation plan with six focus areas: Community and Identity, Education and Learning, Environment and Recreation, Growth and Development, Health and Safety, Jobs and Economy.

CDA 2030 works with local businesses, government, and community organizations to carry out the action items detailed in the implementation plan. These long-term goals and actions will be updated with the release of the joint plan from Envision Coeur d'Alene, under development by the city and CDA 2030.

Preserving Coeur d’Alene Lake consistently ranks as highly important in CDA 2030 community surveys. In a scientific survey conducted to establish community values, over half of residents chose Coeur d’Alene’s scenic beauty and environment as the area’s greatest strength. “I think the lake is one of the biggest assets. That’s what makes everything else good around here,” replied one resident. Referring to the lake, another added, “That’s what makes Coeur d’Alene.”

When asked to identify community qualities they valued, 88% of respondents ranked air and water quality ‘very important’ and 84% ranked natural environment ‘very important’. In rating the quality of the area’s natural environment, 96% selected ‘very good’ or ‘good’.

Many respondents listed a love of the lake and natural surroundings, outdoor recreational opportunities and simply falling in love with the scenic beauty when asked why they chose to live in the area. One summed it up as, “I moved here for the lake to be honest. It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.”

Because Coeur d’Alene Lake was so consistently listed as a valuable community asset, many action items in the environment and recreation section of the implementation plan relate to lake health. The CDA 2030 board of directors recently identified lake and river enhancement as one of five priority action items, along with affordable housing, Envision Coeur d’Alene, early childcare and education, and East Sherman revitalization.

As part of the Our Gem Collaborative, CDA 2030 plays a role in publishing educational water-related articles, hosting the online Speaker Series events and promoting community awareness of local water resources. CDA 2030 serves on the Collaborative as a community nonprofit striving to spark action, enhance collaboration and to serve as neutral conveners representing the community vision.

CDA 2030 and the Our Gem Collaborative are launching a survey to gauge community perceptions on lake issues to see if there have been changes in the past eight years. The survey will be promoted through social media, at public lake access points such as boat launches and beaches, and at community events. Survey participants will be entered to win raffle prizes such as a weekend cabin stay at Heyburn State Park, donated by Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.

The survey can be accessed at uidaho.edu/LakeSurvey and once available, the results will be published at uidaho.edu/OurGem.

You can learn more about CDA 2030 by downloading the Implementation Plan at cda2030.org. The complete “Community Values Survey” report can be viewed at cda2030.org/resources.

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The Our Gem Coeur d’Alene Lake Collaborative is a team of committed and passionate professionals working to preserve lake health and protect water quality by promoting community awareness of local water resources through education, outreach and stewardship. Our Gem includes local experts from the University of Idaho Community Water Resource Center, Coeur d’Alene Tribe Lake Management Department, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Kootenai Environmental Alliance, Kootenai County, Coeur d’Alene Regional Chamber and CDA 2030.