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Posts Tagged ‘John Bruning’

We got the phone call the other day and an email confirmation yesterday, and we’re pleased to say that KEA will be represented on the City of Coeur d’Alene’s new ad hoc committee to deal with the dike road trees. An initial meeting will be scheduled for mid-November.

Recall that a Corps of Engineers inspection is calling for removal of the 500 mature trees along the levee between North Idaho College and the waterfront. KEA has initiated a petition drive calling on the Corps to review its levee vegetation policy as applied here in Coeur d’Alene.

Along with KEA, appointees to the committee include representatives from North Idaho College, the Centennial Trail, Fort Grounds homeowners, the 4-Counties Natural Resources Committee, Councilman John Bruning, and State Senator John Goedde. Other appointees include experts in hydrology, tree removal, and forestry.  The committee will work with City staff, including the City Engineer, the City Administrator and City’s Urban Forester.

Preliminarily, according to the email confirmation, the committee will be tasked with coming up to speed on the issues, helping to review alternatives, helping to gather information and resources, and helping to communicate with the public. We’re eager to get started.

Meanwhile, in other updates, our eyes and ears have noted city crews beginning work on unrelated flood control deficiencies noted by the Corps of Engineers in their inspection. Also, we continue to gather signatures on our petition. With more than 4000 signatures online and on paper, we are making one final push to 5000 before delivering the signatures in November.

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This Thursday, noon, at the Iron Horse, we’ll have an update briefing on the Corps of Engineers death sentence for the dike road trees. Coeur d’Alene City Councilman John Bruning will give an update from the City’s perspective, including a discussion of a new ad hoc committee being formed.  And Terry Harris from KEA will give an update on what is becoming an extraordinary campaign to save the trees. (Here’s the online petition, by the way)

The briefing will mark the fall-season kick-off of the 39th consecutive year of regularly-scheduled general informational meetings at the Iron Horse by Kootenai Environmental Alliance, the oldest non-profit conservation organization in Idaho.

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At their regular meeting Tuesday night, the Coeur d’Alene City Council indicated that they will be taking a significantly tougher stand to protect the dike road trees. Recall that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has told the City that it’s flood control dike protecting the Fort Grounds and the North Idaho College campus cannot be certified unless some 500 trees — and their roots — are removed.

In a procedure that will set up action at the next City Council meeting, Councilman John Bruning made a motion (seconded by Councilman Edinger) that would have the city formally opposing the Corps position, and would set up an ad hoc advisory committee to help the city fight the Corps and protect the trees. The motion passed unanimously setting up final action at the September 20th meeting.

Councilman Bruning, reading from prepared remarks, said that the City needed to be clear in its opposition and needs to “draw a line in the sand and say no to a federal agency.” He noted that even the Corps’ own science on the subject is contradictory, and that “this is a fight we can win.”

Bruning said he was pleased with the outpouring of support for the trees and the “constructive and sincere” offers of help.  Bruning said the ad hoc committee could focus the efforts to save the trees with “respect, diligence, science and common sense.”

All credit to Councilman Bruning and the City Council.  This move appears to be a good combination of thoughtful and resolute. We look forward to the next Council meeting.

 

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