Nutrient Addition and Biomonitoring

Stacks Image 248582
Over the past 100 years, many changes have occurred in the Kootenai watershed. One such change is that nutrients, which historically flowed downstream from Canada and Montana, are now being trapped in Lake Koocanusa behind Libby Dam. As a result, downstream food availability and biological productivity in the Kootenai River and Kootenay Lake have declined dramatically. The separation of the Kootenai River from its historic floodplain downstream from Bonners Ferry has further limited river productivity, also contributing to declines in native fish populations. To reverse this loss of nutrients a team of agencies have been adding liquid phosphorus to the Kootenai River annually since 2005.

Nutrient Addition and Biomonitoring

Sampling
Over the past 100 years, many changes have occurred in the Kootenai watershed. Some have impacted native fish and wildlife populations. One such change is that nutrients, which historically flowed downstream from Canada and Montana, are now being trapped in Lake Koocanusa behind Libby Dam. As a result, downstream food availability and biological productivity in the Kootenai River and Kootenay Lake have declined dramatically. The separation of the Kootenai River from its historic floodplain downstream from Bonners Ferry has further limited river productivity, also contributing to declines in native fish populations.

To reverse this loss of nutrients and restore valuable local native fisheries, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho (KTOI), the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) have been adding liquid phosphorus to the Kootenai River annually since 2005. Nutrient addition occurs using a metered, gravity-flow dosing system and secured holding tanks on the riverbank in Idaho, just downstream from the Montana-Idaho border. During the annual nutrient addition season (June through September), researchers monitor river discharge and nutrient dosing on a daily basis and biological responses weekly to ensure proper dosage and to evaluate biological responses of nutrient additions in real time.

Nutrients

Nitrogen and phosphorus are naturally occurring nutrients in rivers and lakes. While excess nitrogen and phosphorus can cause undesirable algae and nuisance aquatic plant growth (a condition known as eutrophication), low levels of nutrients (oligotrophication) can also impact fisheries and aquatic ecosystems, as seen in the Kootenai River. Like most other nutrient addition programs, this project is restoring nutrients, food availability, and biological productivity that were lost due to the development and operation of the hydropower system and other human activities over the last 100 years.

Download    the Brochure

http://www.temporarypost1.org/


AN INTEGRATED, COLLABORATIVE APPROACH


The Integrated Program is grounded in a core set of guiding principles:

  • Science-based–  Science-based decision making and management;
  • default_title–  Respect for and integration of Tribal cultural values and local social and economic values;
  • default_title–  Collaborative implementation in cooperation with co-managers and stakeholders including transboundary coordination;
  • default_title–  Incorporation of multi-disciplinary input and review;
  • default_title–  Understanding that when dealing with dynamic ecosystems, uncertainty is inevitable, therefore learning through structured adaptive management processes is critical.
  • Show More

My Image
My Image