Restoration of Kootenai River Tributaries
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Restoring Habitat in Selected Tributaries
The Lower Kootenai River Model Watershed Project is designed to restore habitat in selected tributaries in the lower Kootenai watershed. The project is designed to reestablish native riparian vegetation, aquatic insects, and native trout and kokanee salmon habitats and populations.

With several Kootenai River fish stocks in danger of extinction, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho set out to develop a program to recover native fish by rehabilitating and protecting the watershed ecosystems in Idaho’s lower Kootenai River valley. From the outset, the Tribe worked with the local community to develop a scientific and accountable restoration approach that would direct limited resources towards the most effective restoration methods and strategies.

In 2001, Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) awarded the Kootenai Tribe an initial grant to complete a comprehensive biological assessment for the watershed and prioritize restoration actions for Trout Creek, a lower Kootenai River tributary. Based on the findings, the Tribe began working with local landowners to restore degraded stream habitat and riparian areas.

The Tribe’s emerging strategy identified the need to implement and sustain a long-term restoration and monitoring approach across the entire lower Kootenai River basin. Unfortunately, the majority of funding available at the time was earmarked to support the implementation of restoration projects. What was needed was sustained support to liaise with landowners, plan and implement restoration work in tributaries, and measure the results of these efforts in order to continually improve restoration tactics over time.

In 2003, BEF and the Tribe collaborated to develop a 10-year restoration and monitoring plan for lower Kootenai River tributary streams. The plan lays out specific and measurable restoration objectives, establishes 10-year monitoring schedules necessary to track progress towards their objectives, and identifies a suite of integrated and long-term restoration actions necessary to restore native fish populations. BEF’s 10-year commitment helps the tribe take the long-term approach that they knew was necessary to advance a truly scientific and adaptive strategy to heal their watershed.

Project Manager: Scott Soults, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho

Scott Soults

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

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