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Priest Lake, Idaho - March 21, 2023.

Today, Governor Brad Little signed into law Senate Bill 1021 (Protect Priest Lake), which now requires that any alteration to the outlet control structure at Priest Lake be authorized by the Idaho state legislature and governor.

This law will help to protect the lake's water quality and ensure that its natural beauty is preserved for future generations.

This is a major win for the thousands of people who live at or frequent Priest Lake. For nearly 10 years, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has been setting the table for the construction of a massive pipe in the bottom of Outlet Bay at Priest Lake which would have diverted billions of gallons of deep and cold water around the dam into Priest River in an effort to improve the river’s fish habitat. However, their own sponsored studies failed to prove any long-term significant benefit to the river’s fishery, and the risks to the lake were real. A harmful algae bloom popped up 2 years ago in Outlet Bay itself, the very bay from which IDFG proposed to draw off the billions of gallons of water.

The response to the calls for action was overwhelming – on social media, at town hall meetings, conversations at the STPLS booth at the Priest Lake Spring festival, letters to the editors, and especially in emails and telephone calls to Idaho’s elected officials. Idaho legislators heard from “Priestlakers” by the thousands with emails and telephone calls.

This was democracy at its best.

And now, perhaps, our focus can be shifted towards viable alternatives for rehabilitating Priest River

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