Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program
SOW Report
Contract 39852: KOOTENAI RIVER FLOODPLAIN ASSESSMENT
Project Number:
Title:
Kootenai River Operational Loss Assessment
Stage:
Implementation
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Mountain Columbia Kootenai 100.00%
Contract Number:
39852
Contract Title:
KOOTENAI RIVER FLOODPLAIN ASSESSMENT
Contract Continuation:
Previous: Next:
35521: 2002-011-00 KOOTENAI FLOODPLAIN ASSESSMENT
  • 45079: 200201100 EXP KOOTENAI RIVER FLOODPLAIN ASSESSMENT
Contract Status:
Closed
Contract Description:
BPA Project Number:  2002-011-00
Contract title: Kootenai River Floodplain Operational loss Assessment, Mitigation and Restoration Project
Performance/Budget Period: 11/1/07 - 10/31/08
Current allocation $700,023

Overview - Damming of rivers represents a cataclysmic event for large river-floodplain ecosystems. By altering water, sediment, and nutrient flow dynamics, dams interrupt and alter a river's important ecological processes in aquatic, riparian, floodplain and surrounding terrestrial environments. These environments, their life-supporting ecological functions, and the persistence of their floral and faunal communities are inexorably linked. Alteration of any component of such highly integrated natural systems generally results in cascading trophic effects throughout the ecosystem. Thus, major system perturbations, such as impounding large rivers, create a myriad of ecological dysfunction, reflected at all trophic levels on an ecosystem scale. The importance of nutrient and energy dynamics during natural pulses of water discharge in rivers has been extensively described in terms of river ecology (e.g. flood pulse, river continuum, nutrient spiraling, and serial discontinuity concepts). Incorporating this knowledge, we apply a structured series of ecological evaluations to a post-impoundment large river-floodplain ecosystem, the Kootenai River system, as part of a multidisciplinary, adaptive management approach to determine and quantify floodplain ecosystem function losses due to operation of Libby Dam. Moreover, the overarching objectives of this project are to assess abiotic and biotic factors (i.e., geomorphological, hydrological, aquatic and riparian/floodplain communities) in determining a definitive composition of the Index of Ecological Integrity (IEI), producing a hydrologic predictive model and disseminate an operational loss assessment toolbox. The resulting downstream ecological dysfunction, its evaluation structure, protocols, and findings are applicable and valuable to other post-impoundment river systems in the Columbia Basin and elsewhere. Finally, this project emphasizes the need to establish a regionally accepted framework for operational loss assessments, and for the fish and wildlife managers in the Columbia River sub-basin to come to agreement on operational loss methodologies unlike crediting and ledger issues that hamper regional consensus.

Overarching Goal:
Create an operational loss assessment tool to assess ecological losses due to operations of Libby Dam. Protect, restore and/or enhance floodplain ecosystem, which has been altered and degraded by the operations of Libby Dam in the Kootenai Watershed (e.g. riparian, wetland, and related uplands and tributary areas) in order to promote healthy self-sustaining fish and wildlife populations, and functional restored or normative ecological functions within and among biotic communities with an emphasis on restoring sustainable hunting/gathering populations of flora and fauna for tribal sustenance.  Provide a template/tool that can be used across other regions.

Objective A: Create methodologies that will best assess operational losses in the Kootenai River Watershed and are regionally applicable.

Objective B: Initiate the development of a framework for a regionally applicable operational loss assessment for the Columbia River Basin.

Objective C: Assist in the coordination and development of Citizen Committees and Technical Committees to create a geographically-specific and comprehensive process.

Objective D: Mitigate, restore and rehabilitate the Kootenai River floodplain system in such a way that it will provide sustainable populations of flora and fauna for tribal sustenance.

Purpose:
Produce an Operational Loss Assessment Tool that can estimate hydrologic, aquatic, riparian and associated terrestrial ecological losses due to Libby Dam operations in the Kootenai River floodplain and will be applicable in other post-development large river-floodplain ecosystems.

The KTOI Wildlife Program, with project # 2002-011-00, has begun the estimation process for operational loss assessments in the Kootenai River Subbasin, and follows the 2000 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program (NWPPC 2000) "An assessment should be conducted of direct operational impacts on wildlife habitat."  During the efforts to assess the functional losses associated with the operations of Libby Dam, KTOI will develop an operational loss process that can be used regionally. In addition, the NWPCC has committed itself to protecting, mitigating and enhancing "all fish and wildlife affected by the operation of the hydrosystem" and understands that "operational and secondary losses have not been estimated or addressed" (NWPPC 2000). Wildlife benefits derived from this project (#2002-011-00) will help address habitat losses attributed to the operations of Libby Dam, as well as regional systemwide impacts.      

The operations of hydroelectric facilities in the Columbia Basin, particularly Libby Dam (Montana), has resulted in the abiotic and biotic functional loss of the floodplain ecosystem in the Kootenai River Watershed and associated tributaries, wetlands, backwater sloughs and pocket water.  The regulation of floods by Libby Dam gave new life to the local agriculture market and signaled the end of Kootenai Tribe of Idaho “Duck Chiefs”. The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho (KTOI) abandoned weir fishing and relied more heavily on native fish stocks such as kokanee (Oncorhynchus nerka), redband trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss garideini), westslope cutthroat trout (O. clarki lewisii) and bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) as well as local upland wildlife populations. As more floodplains were drained, tribal lands were converted to the best economic use of the land, agricultural production.

It is well understood that the hydrological regime is the driving force behind floodplain ecosystem processes (Petts 1996; Poff et al. 1997; Poff & Ward 1989; Richter et al. 1996; Richter et al. 1997).  Alteration of any component of such highly integrated natural systems generally results in cascading trophic effects throughout the ecosystem.  Thus, major system perturbations, such as impounding large rivers, create a myriad of ecological dysfunction, reflected at all trophic levels on an ecosystem scale, as documented in the Kootenai/y Ecosystem. The construction of Libby Dam on the Kootenai River near Libby, Montana, began in 1966 and was operational on March 21, 1972.  The primary operations of the dam were to create a reservoir that would provide flood storage, and secondarily, produce hydroelectric power.  The construction of the reservoir also produced collateral recreation benefits. Prior to the construction of Libby Dam, diking alone could not contain frequent high spring flows, which repeatedly breached dikes and flooded agricultural grounds. Those overland flows, supplied a natural source of river nutrient inputs, created low velocity, backwater, and side-channel habitats and introduced pioneering riparian species. The overland flows ended when Libby Dam was built. This loss of overland flows, as well as reductions of seasonal high water in the regulated post Libby Dam hydrograph contradicts the flood pulse concept of healthy river floodplain ecology. Unlike separate terrestrial or aquatic scientific or management programs, ecological functions and processes are not segregated along programmatic lines. Thus, numerous Kootenai/y projects are designed and implemented as a package to bridge programmatic gaps between disciplines by ensuring that aquatic, riparian and terrestrial issues are collectively and adequately addressed (refer to Tables 1 in Section D. Relationships to other projects in project proposal) despite their being funded as separate projects.

Interdisciplinary collaborations (a primary emphasis of our project: integrating hydraulic, hydrologic, riparian, terrestrial and aquatic parameters) are increasingly common in many areas of scientific investigation, but particularly relevant and useful to fields involving environmental or ecological problems. Many authors believe this to be true because problems related to human interactions with the environment: 1) typically involve numerous parameters, 2) reflect extensive human alterations to ecosystems, 3) require understanding of physical-biological interactions at multiple spatial and temporal scales, and 4) often involve considerable economic and social capital.  Thus, employment of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary team approaches including individuals from diverse but related group of scientific disciplines can better solve complex ecological problems  within the bounds of societal constraints.

RDRT Overview:
RDRT was developed by utilizing local experts in the fields of hydrology, geology, biology, ecology and engineering. The project Research Design and Review Team was assembled, and meet annually, but subgroups (i.e., 1)Abiotic IEI-Hydrology and geomorphology, 2)Biotic IEI–Aquatic Community (trophic level aquatic productivity), 3)Biotic IEI–Riparian Floodplain Community (trophic level terrestrial productivity), and 4)Statistical designs, analyses, sampling protocols, and relational database) met as project issues, analysis, review and interpretation was/is needed. Activities of RDRT were coordinated and directed resulting in selection of potential research and assessment methodologies appropriate for both the Kootenai River Watershed and regionally (e.g. the Columbia River Basin).  For example, RDRT reviewed and analyzed analogues sites, critiqued assessment methodologies (e.g. hydrologic, terrestrial invertebrate, avian guilds and aquatic research and models) and was the scientific driving force for selection of key ecological functions to be included in the model (e.g. aquatic trophic level dynamics).  The “biotic backbone” of the project is the assessment of Ecological Integrity (or Index for Ecological Integrity – IEI) that refers to the capability of supporting and maintaining “a balanced, integrated, adaptive community of organisms having a species composition, diversity, and functional organization comparable to that of natural habitat of the region” (Karr and Dudley 1981). RDRT was and is utilized to provide guidance in project design, statistical design, coordination between projects, editing, writing and integration of potentially diverse ecological studies and activities as needed.

The RDRT will be responsible for the review, analysis and interpretation of individual Indices of Biotic Integrity (IBI) and Index of Hydrologic Alteration (IHA) assessment methodologies and ecological attributes to interpret larger scale ecological changes and losses (i.e., Index for Ecological Integrity – IEI) that will be appropriate for both the Kootenai River Watershed and regionally. In refinement of IBI’s and the IHA, we hope to augment our RDRT reviews and replace members who are in transition or have left, by soliciting additional peer-review professionals. Additionally, we will access people, programs and data resources such as Northwest Habitat Institute (IBIS), Ecohydraulics Research Group (ERG) - U of ID, USFS, USGS, MDFWP, IDFG, USFWS, Canadian agencies, Flathead Biological Research Station, USACE, and the like.

RDRT will access and refine multimetric biological evaluations such as Indices of Biotic Integrity -IBI - (i.e., NDVI, IDRISI, habitat types, avian, and terrestrial invertebrate attributes) and Index of Hydrologic Alteration (IHA) attributes in the development of statistically robust temporally and spatially replicated Index of Ecological Integrity (IEI). The basic IEI has been formed, but refinements in individual attributes of terrestrial invertebrates and avian guild compositions, habitat typing classifications, NPP, Leaf Area Index, biomass measurements, and the various statistical relationships. RDRT will be utilized on an as needed basis (i.e., subgroup issue related to Work Elements). We also need to link new project surveys and designs (Tribal 2005 bank swallow and raptor surveys), outside agency data (waterfowl and habitat classification survey data) and related biotic and abiotic indicator data, where appropriate, which will strengthen the IEI framework.

RDRT will develop and review an IEI ranking procedure, criteria and regional framework based on multimetric biological evaluations, individual attributes of Indices of Biotic Integrity (IBI) and Index of Hydrologic Alteration (IHA) assessment methodologies and ecological attributes to interpret ecological change and loss. Framework will be developed in conjunction with regional elements. Correlate geomorphological, hydrological, aquatic and terrestrial assessment factors in determining the final composition of the operational loss assessment tool.  Criteria will be assessed from current IBI and IHA parameters and compared with regional methodologies (i.e., HGM, IBIS, EDT, HEP, HSI) for ease of use, consideration of crediting ledgers, contemplating out-of-basin issues, while working within the ecological province.
Account Type(s):
Expense
Contract Start Date:
11/01/2008
Contract End Date:
10/31/2009
Current Contract Value:
$666,304
Expenditures:
$666,304

* Expenditures data includes accruals and are based on data through 31-Jan-2021.

BPA COTR:
Env. Compliance Lead:
Contract Contractor:
Work Order Task(s):
Contract Type:
Contract (IGC)
Pricing Method:
Cost Reimbursement (CNF)
Click the map to see this Contract’s location details.

No photos have been uploaded yet for this Contract.

Full Name Organization Write Permission Contact Role Email Work Phone
John Barco III Bonneville Power Administration No Env. Compliance Lead jwbarco@bpa.gov (503) 230-3223
Sheree Faulk Kootenai Tribe No Administrative Contact sheree@kootenai.org (208) 267-3620
Sue Ireland Kootenai Tribe Yes Supervisor ireland@kootenai.org (208) 267-3620
Paul Krueger Bonneville Power Administration Yes F&W Approver pqkrueger@bpa.gov (503) 230-5723
Norm Merz Kootenai Tribe Yes Technical Contact merz@kootenai.org (208) 267-3620x555
Scott Soults Kootenai Tribe Yes Contract Manager soults@kootenai.org (208) 267-3620
Kristi Van Leuven Bonneville Power Administration No Contracting Officer kjvleuven@bpa.gov (503) 230-3605
Virgil Watts III Bonneville Power Administration Yes COTR vlwatts@bpa.gov (503) 230-4625


Viewing of Work Statement Elements

Deliverable Title WSE Sort Letter, Number, Title Start End Complete
Environmental Compliance documentation B: 165. Produce Environmental Compliance Documentation 10/31/2009 10/31/2009
Indices of Ecological Integrity C: 156. RDRT develop Indices of Ecological Integrity (IEI) 10/31/2009 10/31/2009
Hydrologic and Spatial Models D: 156. Model hydrogeomorphic attributes of Kootenai River floodplain 10/31/2009 10/31/2009
Evaluative model of terrestrial community attributes E: 156. Collect data and validate model for assessing terrestrial community trophic levels 10/31/2009 10/31/2009
Terrestrial Vegetation Communities Assessment Methodologies F: 157. Collect data & monitor terrestrial vegetation comm. & other components to validate NDVI 10/31/2009 10/31/2009
Evaluate aquatic community IBI trophic level production G: 156. Collect data and validate model for assessing avian community trophic levels 10/31/2009 10/31/2009
Comparison of cottonwood communities under a more normative flow regime H: 157. Life Stage Analysis 10/30/2009 10/30/2009
Analysis & interpretation of sampling and survey models I: 162. Analysis & interpretation of terrestrial community survey and sampling models 10/31/2009 10/31/2009
Statistical Analyses of IBI Trophic Data J: 162. Statistical Analyses of IBI Trophic Level Data 10/30/2009 10/30/2009
Operational Loss Relational Database K: 160. Operational Loss Relational Data Base 10/31/2009 10/31/2009
Technical review of IBI, IEI and hydraulic modeling L: 122. RDRT to provide technical review on Operational Loss Assessment Modeling 10/31/2009 10/31/2009
Reports Documenting Coordination Meetings M: 189. Planning, Design & Coordination of Existing & New Projects 10/31/2009 10/31/2009
RDRT meetings complete N: 161. Facilitate regional peer-review and Research Design and Review Team meetings 10/31/2009 10/31/2009
Project Administration O: 119. Oversight and administer Planning and Design and new project activities 10/31/2009 10/30/2009
Completed FY08 Annual Report P: 132. Produce Annual Report for FY 08 10/31/2009 03/31/2009

Viewing of Implementation Metrics
Viewing of Environmental Metrics Customize

Primary Focal Species Work Statement Elements
Wildlife
  • 1 instance of WE 122 Provide Technical Review and Recommendation
  • 2 instances of WE 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
  • 1 instance of WE 161 Disseminate Raw/Summary Data and Results
  • 2 instances of WE 162 Analyze/Interpret Data

Sort WE ID WE Title NEPA NOAA USFWS NHPA Has Provisions Inadvertent Discovery Completed
A 185 Periodic Status Reports for BPA 02/09/2007
B 165 Produce Environmental Compliance Documentation 02/09/2007
C 156 RDRT develop Indices of Ecological Integrity (IEI) 02/09/2007
D 156 Model hydrogeomorphic attributes of Kootenai River floodplain 02/09/2007
E 156 Collect data and validate model for assessing terrestrial community trophic levels 02/09/2007
F 157 Collect data & monitor terrestrial vegetation comm. & other components to validate NDVI 02/09/2007
G 156 Collect data and validate model for assessing avian community trophic levels 02/09/2007
H 157 Life Stage Analysis 02/09/2007
I 162 Analysis & interpretation of terrestrial community survey and sampling models 02/09/2007
J 162 Statistical Analyses of IBI Trophic Level Data 02/09/2007
K 160 Operational Loss Relational Data Base 02/09/2007
L 122 RDRT to provide technical review on Operational Loss Assessment Modeling 02/09/2007
M 189 Planning, Design & Coordination of Existing & New Projects 02/09/2007
N 161 Facilitate regional peer-review and Research Design and Review Team meetings 02/09/2007
O 119 Oversight and administer Planning and Design and new project activities 02/09/2007
P 132 Produce Annual Report for FY 08 02/09/2007