Local news

In brief: Cocolalla Lake level minimum rejected

BOISE – Idaho lawmakers have killed legislation to set a minimum lake level for Cocolalla Lake in North Idaho, after Bonner County commissioners came out against it earlier this week.

“The Water Resource Board does not wish to move forward with this if it’s opposed by the local community,” Brian Patton of the Idaho Department of Water Resources told the Senate Resources Committee, which then voted unanimously to kill the resolution. The department had proposed the measure, which appropriated a water right to ensure the lake isn’t drained in the future, at the request of local residents; it’s been in the works since 2004.

At a public hearing on the proposal in Sandpoint in 2009, all the testimony was in favor.

Public meetings will cover tussock moths

The Idaho Department of Lands will hold two informational meetings for landowners about tussock moths.

The meetings take place at:

• 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at Lakeside Elementary School, 1345 E St., Plummer

• 10 a.m. Feb. 25 at Plummer Community Center, 520 C St., Plummer.

The native pests are major defoliators of Douglas fir and grand fir trees. Last year, a tussock moth outbreak affected 68,000 acres of the Idaho Panhandle and 1,600 acres in eastern Spokane County.

Tussock moth outbreaks typically peak in 10-year cycles. The outbreak in Spokane County will probably subside this year, but the Idaho Panhandle could see an increase in the number of acres affected, forest entomologists say.

Caterpillars feed on both old and new foliage. Though the trees appear dead, many survive if they can form buds that last through the winter. Outbreaks typically collapse within two to four years, due to a buildup of natural enemies, including a viral disease.

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