Tools to Understand and Measure Impacts from Libby Dam
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Assessing the Impacts of Libby Dam
Dams alter water, sediment, and nutrient flow dynamics of river systems and so interrupt and change important ecological processes in aquatic, riparian, floodplain, and surrounding terrestrial environments. Alteration of any component of such highly integrated natural systems generally results in cascading trophic (food chain) effects throughout the ecosystem.

The overarching goal of this project is to create an operational loss assessment tool to assess ecological losses caused by the operations of Libby Dam. In the end we hope to use the tool to help protect, restore and/or enhance the floodplain ecosystem (e.g. riparian, wetland, and related uplands and tributary areas) in order to promote healthy self-sustaining fish and wildlife populations. We also hope to provide a template/tool that can be used across other regions.

Specific objectives include: (1) reviewing, analyzing and select ing research projects that will best assess operational losses in the Lower Kootenai River Watershed and are regionally applicable; (2) assessing historic (early 1900’s) and current condition and status of floodplain vegetation types, slough, pocket water and associated watercourses within the Lower Kootenai River Watershed; (3) producing hydrologic models for the floodplain and each natural analogue stream course; (4) developing a framework for regional floodplain operational loss assessments, with the use of Lower Kootenai River floodplain operational assessment, EDT, and normative analogue comparisons; and (5) planning and establishing a trust fund or other funding strategy for securing management rights, and operations and maintenance to mitigate priority floodplain habitat areas.

Staff
Project Manager: Norm Merz, KTOI
Liaison from Montana FWP: Dwight Bergeron

Funding
This project is funded by the
Bonneville Power Administration through the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Columbia River Basin Fish & Wildlife Program (Project Number 200201100).

Contact
Norm Merz
KTOI
(208)267-3620
merz@kootenai.org


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Kootenai Tribe of Idaho
P.O. Box 1269
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
Phone: 208-267-3519

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