for over 35 years, We have been fighting to protect and revitalize the northwest’s forests, water, and wildlife.
The Lands Council was inaugurated in 1983 at Sacred Heart and Deaconess Medical centers by a group of resident physicians committed to protecting wildlands in the St. Joe and Clearwater River regions of north Idaho. Our mission and scope of work expanded to include the protection and restoration of forest ecosystems, and rivers and lakes, primarily in north Idaho and eastern Washington, as well as northwestern Montana and northeastern Oregon. From our beginning we advocated for citizen participation in, and oversight of, decisions impacting our environment.
We were one of the first Forest Watch groups in the country and we taught citizens how to challenge illegal logging projects and successfully reduced clear cutting by 80% in our region. TLC was hard line, zero cut, and no compromise. We helped start, and led the National Forest Protection Alliance, which advocated an end to commercial logging. We also played a part in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designating much of the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River as a Superfund site, which we called the Get the Lead Out Campaign.
Our success at reducing illegal logging eventually gave us an equal seat at the table and by 2001 we began using another tactic - collaboration. We have since helped start four forest collaborations that have led to protection of old growth forests and roadless areas. At the same time, we helped institute science based forest restoration - which has helped bring small diameter logs to the timber industry and increase forest resiliency.
1990’s: We reduced clearcutting and roadbuilding by over 80% in our regions National Forests.
1996: We created the “Get the Lead Out” Program to address mining contamination issues.
2001: We met with over 1,000 rural residents and wrote 125 wildfire protection plans to help those people prepare for wildfire
2001: We reached an agreement between Kettle Range Conservation Group (KRCG) and U.S. Forest Service to protect endangered grizzly bears and woodland caribou in northeastern Washington.
2002: We help establish collaborative groups on three national forests and found common goals in protecting new wilderness areas, as well as improved forest management.
2003: We helped secure funding for an aquifer study of the Spokane Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer.
2005 to present: We have informed thousands of people about eating contaminated fish in the Spokane River.
2005 to present: Through our environmental health program, we have educated over 12,000 Spokane citizens about the dangers of exposure to toxins in the Spokane River.
2006: To protect the Spokane River, we helped pass a statewide phosphorous ban on dishwasher soap and lawn fertilizers.
2008: We initiated a lead education/screening project to protect at risk youth in our community from lead poisoning. Since the projects inception, we have educated over 1,600 families in Spokane neighborhoods and tested over 800 children for lead.
2009 to present: We have recruited thousands of volunteers to plant nearly 80,000 native trees and plants, and remove invasive species along the Spokane River and Hangman Creek.
2009: We created public support for a comprehensive Coeur d’Alene Lake Management Plan.
2009: Participated in the Spokane climate task force that created Spokane’s Sustainability Action Plan.
2009: We contributed to the Clinton Roadless plan that protects roadless areas on National Forests.
2009: We completed a study on natural water storage and began our Beaver Solution program that has relocated over 120 beavers.
2010: We helped create a plan to improve dissolve oxygen and remove PCB’s from the Spokane River.
2010: We collaborated to form an agreement to remove Sullivan Creek Mill Pond Dam.
2010 to present: We have begun restoring Hangman, Coulee, and Deep Creeks that flow into the Spokane River.
2011 to present: We work to protect and grow our native Ponderosa Pine forest and have planted thousands of Ponderosa pines.
2012 to present: As part of the Spokane River Toxics Taskforce, we are leading the country in removing PCB's from our river and products.
2013: We established Project Green Sleeves with the Geiger Corrections Institute to provide jail-alternative sentencing options and educational opportunities for offenders. Through the Project, Geiger offenders plant trees, weed, water, start a plant nursery, and help with our stormwater.
2014: We established a campaign to reduce the coal and oil trains traveling through our region, and stop new facilities in Washington State.
2015: We built three storm gardens in Spokane using biochar to keep contaminated stormwater from the Spokane River.
2016 to present: We are researching the use of fungi to break down PCB's and the results of Phase 1 indicated success. We are working with North Central High School students on Phase 2 of this project, and expanding our research to other contaminants.
2017 to present: We are meeting with state and federal agencies with a common sense plan to reduce livestock/wolf conflicts by moving livestock to restored low elevation meadows.
2018: We are part of the Spokane Climate Impact Resiliency Consortium, an effort to prepare Spokane for impacts from climate change.
2018: We helped pass a Spokane 100% renewable electricity ordinance, and are working to help pass at Washington State carbon fee.
2018: We were invited to Scandanavia as part of a Spokane Sustainability tour and are part of two post trip working groups here in Spokane.