Phase 1A & 1B
Bank restoration to address extreme erosion; floodplain restoration; restoration of side channel habitat, and riparian planting and fencing.
Bank restoration to prevent sediment loading into the river, and floodplain restoration.The Phase 1A and 1B project actions restored 1,600 linear feet of mainstem bank and installed large wood, restored 2,800 feet of side channel, created or enhanced three side channel pools, 2,600 feet of side channel large wood, restored 8.5 acres of floodplain and wetland, placed 5,400 plants, and installed 5,000 linear feet of riparian buffer fencing. Construction of the two projects was completed during the short in-water work window from August to November.
The completed 2011 projects contributed to ecosystem
restoration by restoring valuable side channel habitat for fish, restoring and enhancing floodplain and riparian habitat, restoring the food web, and reducing sediment loading to the river. In addition, the projects contributed to community needs by stabilizing severely eroding banks, thus preventing ongoing land loss.
Upper Meander & North-side Channels
Two projects, the North Side Channels project and Upper Meander project, were completed in 2012. Both are located in the Braided Reach upstream of Bonners Ferry. The North Side Channel project restored existing side channels and enhanced aquatic, floodplain and riparian habitat. The project is also designed to enhance the food web. The pre-project Upper Meander site had some of the most extensive erosion and land loss found in the Braided Reaches. This project included construction of innovativestructures (“sturgeon fins”) that redirected flow away from the banks, while simultaneously creating desirable aquatic habitat in the form of recirculating eddies and pools that provide a range of complex hydraulic conditions. The deep pools created through the Upper Meander project will be complemented by pools created through implementation of additional projects in 2013, 2014 and 2015, effectively creating a ladder of pools to support sturgeon migration and holding through the Straight and Braided Reaches of the Kootenai River.
Middle Meander & 1A ExtensionThese two projects were completed in the summer/fall of 2013. The projects, 1A Extension and the Middle Meander project, are both located upstream of Bonners Ferry in the Braided Reaches. The 1A Extension project expanded upon bank stabilization and riparian restoration work done in 2011. The Middle Meander project contributes to the pool ladder and enhances habitat complexity in the Braided Reach. The Tribe is doing a substrate-enhancement pilot project in the Meander Reach near Shorty’s Island. This pilot project is testing the sustainability and effectiveness of placing rock substrate over existing clay surfaces in a reach of the river where wild Kootenai sturgeon currently spawn. This project is designed to address the first two known bottlenecks to Kootenai sturgeon recruitment.
Substrate EnhancementThis project involved the placement of suitable rocky substrates on the riverbed at two locations, Shorty’s Island (north) and Myrtle Creek (south), where Kootenai sturgeon eggs are currently deposited but don’t appear to survive over unsuitable sand and clay substrates.
Straight Reach and Bonners Ferry Islands
2015 Straight Reach: Construction of two rock spurs along the riverbank will help create more complex in-water habitat, and placement of clusters of rocky substrate on the riverbed will support survival of sturgeon early life stages.
2015-16 Bonners Ferry Islands: Excavation of three large pools will provide resting and holding habitat; construction of two vegetated islands on existing gravel bars will create floodplain habitat; construction of two large pool-forming structures will direct flow away from riverbanks and create alcoves and complex in-water habitats. The project also includes bank restoration and planting.