Poll shows Idahoans care most about water quality

Idahoans said they were most concerned about water quality of all of the environmental issues facing them.

They shared that concern with residents polled in Oregon and Washington by DHM Research is an independent and non-partisan public opinion research and consultation firm based in Portland, Ore. But they weren’t as concerned as folks downstream.

And Idahoans were less willing to drive less and consume less to combat climate change. But more said they should spend less and adjust their lifestyle to address the poor economy.

Here is a link to the poll.

The poll was a part of an environmental journalism collaboration by public radio stations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington and Idaho Public Television. DHM Research polled 1,200 people in the region, with 400 in each state. The online survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

John Horvick, a senior associate with DHM Research, said he was most surprised by the consistency of residents in the three states. But there was a clear difference between Idahoans and their coastal neighbors.

“Idahoans are about eight to 15 percent less concerned about all these various issues,” Horvick said.

Residents of all three states said improving habitat was the most important factor for improving salmon runs. Still only 50 percent of Idahoans responded that way, reflecting that more than 10 million acres of its salmon habitat protected in wilderness or roadless lands. Fifty-nine percent of Oregon and Washington residents said improving habitat was the most important. But Idahoans were slightly more supportive of building new hatcheries, increasing the spilling of water away from power turbines.

Only 17 percent of Idahoans said removing dams was the most important factor. But in another question, 45 percent said we should keep dams to 18 percent who called for removing them. Still, just like recent Boise State University surveys people’s answers were more balanced when the question was asked in a different way.

About a third said keep the four dams on the lower Snake River in Washington and another third said other solutions aren’t working so consider removing them without significant increases in power rate or hurting the economy.

One of the shockers of the poll was that 78 percent of Idahoans said they would support the building a wind farm within sight of their home. The Idaho Legislature nearly passed a moratorium on wind generation because a group of eastern Idaho residents raised concerns about the aesthetics and impacts of the huge towers and blades.

400 people is a survey representing Idaho???

Our population is over a million now. What a ridiculous survey. 78% of Idahoans supporting the building of a wind farm is basically 312 people, not, for the sake of argument, 20k or more. And Rocky, "Idahoans were less willing to drive less and consumer less....". What's with that? It's getting more and more difficult to make sense of your columns. Sheesh...Sunny...

It's scientific sampling and most Idahoans are gonna say...

Well, HECK YEAH, are you stupid mister?

I don't need a poll for that, Sunny.


Everybody wants to hue the knurled


I mean, water quality is pretty important. However, my first environmental concern would be contamination by radioactive and/or toxic materials followed by air quality. Water quality would be next. As with any pollution (perhaps with the exception of air) it's easier to prevent the pollution then to clean it up. Economic opportunities come and go, but once you pollute the environment it's over.

I care about

beer quality....pa$$ the oly....


We value water quality,
We elect Republicans,
The EPA protects water quality,
Our elected Republicans are defunding the EPA.
I guess as long as they're Republican, it's okay to oppose the populace and common sense.

Over focused and off on a tangent...

What a stupid, inconsequential survey. Our national and state economies are in the toilet and these idjits are concerned about water quality. I am/we should be concerned about jobs and the GDP. America and Idaho have become a nation of consumers. Thanks to the environmental movement Idaho industry and jobs and especially Idaho’s forest industries have been shut down and locked up by the environmental movement. This is why some Idaho Counties who contain 80% to 90% Forest System Lands (public) are going broke.

I find it interesting that it’s OK to build man made islands in the Payette River in Cascade, Idaho For kayakers recreational enjoyment, but it is not OK to build a road within 500 feet of a stream in Boise County and provide tax revenues and jobs for the county.

It’s OK to build homes right up against the Boise River, in Boise, and manage the entire drainage and water levels according the whims/needs of home owners. Where were the environmental groups when the Boise River and Eagle Island riparian areas were being trashed by so much construction and development? Now the Corps of Engineers has to restore the biological and physical components surrounding Eagle Island to a more naturally functioning state.

Now there is the new Boise River Recreation Park near 36th street in Boise. It will feature in-river drops, chutes and boulder obstacles as well as riverbank seating areas and Greenbelt improvements. And get this. They are going to install “wave shapers” in the Boise River for kayakers (enviros). Why is it OK to place dozers and track-hoes in a river to construct recreational facilities, but it’s not OK to access mines with truck traffic on river roads.

All this attention & protection for recreation, but when it comes to forest industries like ranching, mining and logging and jobs the enviros do not want anyone, anywhere near “their” water. It’s a double standard when it’s OK to alter, develop and construct recreational facilities within our rivers floodplain for environmentalist’s recreational purposes, but when it comes to forest industries, tax revenues and jobs…forget it.

The Idaho Conservation League, Rivers Unlimited, Western Watersheds Project and other enviro groups better begin considering the economy as well as the environment. Look for solutions and seek the middle ground as it is possible to both protect the environment and still have industry, jobs and a healthier economy.

Read Johnson's blog


Reasonable Democrats

I consider the ICL to be one of the more reasonable enviro organizations, however more is needed to save and/or create jobs in Idaho's rural counties.

With today’s modern technology/knowledge we can utilize more of our natural resources in a more environmentally sound management style than we could 25 years ago. Locking up our natural resource from everything but recreation is suicidal for small local economies. The worst about it is the fact that people who own homes and live in lightly populated, federally owned, rural counties are the ones who suffer while the folks who make the environmental decisions are living comfortably in Boise.

Our forests and rangelands are not just for recreation. Idaho needs it's forest industries, economy and jobs back again.


Recreational jobs- $16,000/yr
Mining, forestry jobs- $60,000 and up.

But if you are sitting in Boise, who cares what the average income is in Custer County.

The liberal/enviros (read Democrats) cry about low $ spent on education, rural suicide rates, rural teen pregnancy, corporate pirates, and low Internet speed in Idaho. But they can hike a 4 mile trail among dead trees to camp with everyone else from Boise and not hear a motorcycle while on their hike and so "Life is Great"- sticker on the back of their Subaru.

And yet they bring bottled water to drink.

I don't care about no volcanos!

H2O baby!


Everybody wants to hue the knurled

#1 is actually #2! They all care about not being dead!


Everybody wants to hue the knurled