183,000 acres of land around Payette Lake and Little Payette Lake has received a great deal of attention over the last several months.
The city of McCall sent a letter to IDL highlighting four things they want the land board to take into consideration about the area. City officals were encouraged by comments by IDL’s Dustin Miller saying the department wants “win-win” for the McCall community and the endowment trust.
Monday is the last day that IDL is accepting public comment. You can comment here.
The letter to IDL
First, the city emphasized that Big Payette Lake is the sole source of their drinking water.
“It is a critical natural resource for our community that must be protected,” the letter states. “Analysis of the endowment lands within the watershed that feeds the lake should evaluate mitigation measures to protect the shoreline and riparian areas; to prevent untreated run-off and erosion impacts, and retain the maximum amount of undisturbed drainage areas with natural vegetation for low-cost treatment of run-off.”
Secondly, the city would like to see the endowment lands address affordable and mid-level housing. McCall believes that this endowment land brings opportunities for collaboration between the city and IDL to improve the housing crisis.
“This will benefit our economy, employers, families, and workers while creating economic value for the endowment fund,” the letter says.
The city is also asking that IDL prioritize the use of conservation easements. Conservation easements are voluntary agreements between the government or land trusts and the landowner. The city writes that if this is done it will protect important parcels near the lake and allow recreation on those parcels while keeping state ownership.
“Allow time for local conservation groups and other stakeholders to create these easements,” the letter says. “Which do provide fair market value compensation to the endowment fund and will also meet the public’s goals for access, recreation and conservation.”
Finally, the city is urging IDL to provide for stakeholder participation. The city believes that meetings such as the focus groups have been an important part of this process.