“The water quality at Priest Lake is among the best you’ll find in the US
because the agencies are careful about how we’re managing the streams and we
have forgiving ground.” --Jill
Cobb, Forest Service Hydrologist, Priest Lake District
Priest Lake’s headwaters begin in Canada and about 1300 miles of perennial streams contribute to the lake. Jill Cobb has walked many of those streams in her job as the district hydrologist for the forest service. Her responsibility is to make sure the water coming off the public lands are as clean as they can be. She and her staff regularly check the streams to check for indicators that will tell them whether the stream is healthy.
Cobb says in addition to good management practices, another reason the water is so clear and clean at Priest Lake is because of the soil. Volcanic eruptions that occurred historically in the area have made the soil nutrient poor and also allow it to absorb a lot of water. Usually, these conditions are very good for water quality.