Please share your thoughts about recreation in the City of Sandpoint's Little Sand Creek Watershed.
The purpose of this survey is to inform the Little Sand Creek Watershed recreation master plan. The recreation plan is the final component of a broader watershed management plan which was adopted by the Sandpoint City Council in 2021. For more information, click HERE to access the online version of this plan.
Introduction: What is the “watershed”?
A watershed is an area of land that channels rainfall and snowmelt to creeks, streams, and rivers and eventually to outflow points such as lakes, reservoirs, bays and the ocean. The size of a watershed (also called a drainage basin or catchment) is based on the geography that is most relevant to its specific area.
When watersheds are healthy and functioning well, they provide food and fiber, clean water, and habitat for native plants and animals. Healthy watersheds work hard. They move sediment from the mountains to the beaches and bays, sorting it along the way to create diverse landscapes and habitats. They cycle nutrients and convert them into forms that living organisms can use. They purify and store water, and then meter its release into streams to reduce flooding and damaging erosion in the winter and to sustain flows and cool temperatures during the dry season. They even affect air quality by absorbing pollutants and greenhouse gases. Well-functioning watersheds are more resilient to natural and human-induced disturbances than highly impacted watersheds.
The Little Sand Creek (LSC) Watershed (”Watershed”) consists of the basin located northwest of Sandpoint and Lake Pend Oreille in Bonner County Idaho and between Bald Mountain (to the south) and Schweitzer Mountain (to the north). The basin drains to LSC, which is a tributary to Sand Creek, which then empties into Lake Pend Oreille, near the Sandpoint City Beach Park.
The LSC Watershed includes all the drainage area above the City of Sandpoint’s Drinking Water Treatment Plant, which lies 0.83 miles up (west) Schweitzer Mountain Road from the intersection with N Boyer Road. Schweitzer Mountain road is the main access point for the Watershed and travels west to the approximate mid-point, then north before leaving the Watershed near the entrance to the Schweitzer Mountain Resort.
The LSC Watershed is approximately 7,400 acres, with the City of Sandpoint as the majority landowner in the Watershed with an ownership encompassing about 53 percent of the area. Additional land ownership within the watershed includes State of Idaho lands, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Schweitzer Mountain, and other private entities.
The Watershed is critical to the well-being of the public as one of the community’s primary drinking water sources. The City has a dam located on the property and it is one of only two sources of drinking water used by Sandpoint’s Water Utility to provide water to residents of the cities of Sandpoint, Ponderay and Kootenay and portions of the city of Dover and unincorporated Bonner County
The Watershed also provides natural resources (i.e., timber for the City of Sandpoint, State, Federal, and Private Landowners) and potential recreational opportunities for the public including biking, hiking, and more.
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