Wildlife Projects

The Wildlife Program includes three projects: Reconnect Kootenai River with the Historical Floodplain Project; the Kootenai River Floodplain Ecosystem Operational Loss Assessment, Protection, Mitigation, and Rehabilitation Project; and the Albeni Falls Wildlife Mitigation. Each of these are described below.

Reconnect the Kootenai River with the Historical Floodplain Project
This project addresses the need to restore floodplain habitats and functions, depressional wetlands, stream channels, and riparian areas lost through diking and ditching, and draining wetlands, and that have been exasperated by the construction and operation of Libby Dam with its altered hydrologic regime. The reconnect project focuses in particular on the transitional habitats that are used by avian and terrestrial populations as well as aquatic species.

Kootenai River Floodplain Ecosystem Operational Loss Assessment, Protection, Mitigation, and Rehabilitation Project
This project provides a framework that is being used in the Kootenai River subbasin and can be implemented in other basins throughout the Columbia River Basin to assess and monitor, in a consistent and reproducible manner, these kinds of changes in the ecosystem. This framework (i.e., set of tools) provides a methodology to assess the overall condition of the floodplain and help prioritize, target, and manage conservation and mitigation actions. The tools developed are designed to (1) addresses the magnitude of changes at the abiotic and biotic levels of the ecosystem and (2) provide a standardize, repeatable methodology to prioritize, measure, monitor, and cumulatively assess mitigation actions to understand their contribution to the restoration of the ecosystem.

Albeni Falls Wildlife Mitigation Project
Thee purpose of Albeni Falls Wildlife Mitigation Project is to protect, enhance, and maintain wetland and riparian wildlife habitats to address ongoing construction and inundation impacts associated with the Albeni Falls hydroelectric project within the Kootenai Tribe’s historical usual and accustomed lands. Protecting, enhancing and maintaining these habitats provides direct benefits to a variety of terrestrial species that are critically important to the Kootenai Tribe.

Wildlife Projects

The Wildlife Program includes three projects: Reconnect Kootenai River with the Historical Floodplain Project; the Kootenai River Floodplain Ecosystem Operational Loss Assessment, Protection, Mitigation, and Rehabilitation Project; and the Albeni Falls Wildlife Mitigation. Each of these are described below.

Reconnect the Kootenai River with the Historical Floodplain Project

TribPhoto
This project addresses the need to restore floodplain habitats and functions, depressional wetlands, stream channels, and riparian areas lost through diking and ditching, and draining wetlands, and that have been exasperated by the construction and operation of Libby Dam with its altered hydrologic regime. The reconnect project focuses in particular on the transitional habitats that are used by avian and terrestrial populations as well as aquatic species.

The project was initially classified as a wildlife project and then was reclassified by the Council as a fish project; this resulted in changes to the way the project was reviewed and evaluated. It addresses transitional habitat zones that host aquatic, avian and terrestrial species, and illustrates the need for an integrated program that diminishes these artificial distinctions. The primary goal is to restore floodplain habitats and functions, depressional wetlands, stream channels, and riparian areas to support critical life stages for species and populations dependent on floodplain productivity. Sustainable, long-term benefits to the Kootenai subbasin include reconnecting tributaries to the mainstem Kootenai River, restoring lentic/wetland environments, and improving the natural cycling of carbon and related nutrients.

The project plays an important role in providing data to support the assessment and restoration of ecosystem diversity and ecological functions within the subbasin. Understanding how floodplain ecosystems are linked to the operations of the Federal Columbia River Power System, and more specifically to Libby Dam, is critically important to restoration activities and necessary in evaluating hydropower impacts to ecological functions and the lower Kootenai River ecosystem. The project also facilitates feasibility and habitat restoration actions in collaboration with the Kootenai River Floodplain Ecosystem Operational Loss Assessment, Protection, Mitigation and Rehabilitation Project and Albeni Falls Wildlife Mitigation Projects.

Wildlife Projects

The Wildlife Program includes three projects: Reconnect Kootenai River with the Historical Floodplain Project; the Kootenai River Floodplain Ecosystem Operational Loss Assessment, Protection, Mitigation, and Rehabilitation Project; and the Albeni Falls Wildlife Mitigation Project. Each of these are described below.

Reconnect the Kootenai River with the Historical Floodplain Project

TribPhoto
This project addresses the need to restore floodplain habitats and functions, depressional wetlands, stream channels, and riparian areas lost through diking and ditching, and draining wetlands, and that have been exasperated by the construction and operation of Libby Dam with its altered hydrologic regime. The reconnect project focuses in particular on the transitional habitats that are used by avian and terrestrial populations as well as aquatic species.

The project was initially classified as a wildlife project and then was reclassified by the Council as a fish project; this resulted in changes to the way the project was reviewed and evaluated. It addresses transitional habitat zones that host aquatic, avian and terrestrial species, and illustrates the need for an integrated program that diminishes these artificial distinctions. The primary goal is to restore floodplain habitats and functions, depressional wetlands, stream channels, and riparian areas to support critical life stages for species and populations dependent on floodplain productivity. Sustainable, long-term benefits to the Kootenai subbasin include reconnecting tributaries to the mainstem Kootenai River, restoring lentic/wetland environments, and improving the natural cycling of carbon and related nutrients.

The project plays an important role in providing data to support the assessment and restoration of ecosystem diversity and ecological functions within the subbasin. Understanding how floodplain ecosystems are linked to the operations of the Federal Columbia River Power System, and more specifically to Libby Dam, is critically important to restoration activities and necessary in evaluating hydropower impacts to ecological functions and the lower Kootenai River ecosystem. The project also facilitates feasibility and habitat restoration actions in collaboration with the Kootenai River Floodplain Ecosystem Operational Loss Assessment, Protection, Mitigation and Rehabilitation Project and Albeni Falls Wildlife Mitigation Projects.


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.
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