Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program
SOW Report
Contract 43258: 199500400 EXP LIBBY RESERVOIR MITIGATION PLAN
Project Number:
Title:
Libby Reservoir Mitigation Restoration and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E)
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Mountain Columbia Kootenai 100.00%
Contract Number:
43258
Contract Title:
199500400 EXP LIBBY RESERVOIR MITIGATION PLAN
Contract Continuation:
Previous: Next:
38967: 1995-004-00 EXP LIBBY RESERVOIR MITIGATION PLA
  • 48496: 1995-004-00 EXP LIBBY RESERVOIR MITIGATION PLA
Contract Status:
Closed
Contract Description:
Note to Contract Officer:  Send contract documents to Karen Zackheim, administrative contact.

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Fisheries losses caused by the construction and operation of Libby Dam, site-specific mitigation actions and monitoring strategies were documented in the Libby Dam Fisheries Mitigation and Implementation Plan (MFWP et al. 1998).  As directed by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's (NPCC) Fish and Wildlife Program (NPCC 1994 and 2000), the  Mitigation Plan and Kootenai Subbasin documents present actions needed to offset fisheries losses associated with the construction and operation of Libby Dam. These documents were developed collaboratively with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho (KTOI).  Mitigation actions are also coordinated with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and British Columbia Ministries.

This program implements the NPCC Plan to enhance hydropower-affected fish stocks in the Montana portion of the Kootenai Watershed.  Fish restoration efforts in this work plan are consistent with the White Sturgeon Recovery Plan (USFWS 1999) and the 2006 White Sturgeon Biological Opinion (BiOp) on the operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS).  Kootenai River white sturgeon (Accipenser transmontanus) are endangered; less than 600 individuals remain. Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) are listed as threatened under ESA, and populations in the Kootenai River were fragmented by Libby Dam. The abundance and distribution of westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhyncus clarki lewisi) and redband trout (O. mykiss) in the Kootenai Basin have declined from their historic condition due to dam construction and operation, negative interactions with nonnative species (e.g. predation, competition, genetic introgression), and anthropogenic factors (e.g. channel alterations and sedimentation). Hybridization and competition with non-native fish species and habitat degradation pose the greatest threat to westslope cutthroat and redband trout.   This work plan implements and evaluates on-the-ground habitat enhancement efforts that alleviate limiting factors to native species populations. Projects reclaiming critical spawning, rearing, and over-wintering habitats have been completed, or are ongoing.  These projects are being completed with the help of grassroots watershed work groups comprised of landowners, agencies, sportsmen's groups and local, state and federal government coalitions.

Project history  

This project combines the former projects 83-465-00, 83-467-00 and 94-010-00 for efficiency and cost savings.  Work on Libby Reservoir to assess the effects of operation on fish populations and lower trophic levels began in 1982.  This project established relationship between reservoir operation and biological productivity, and incorporated the results in the computer model LRMOD.  The models and preliminary IRCs (Integrated Rule Curves, originally called Biological Rule Curves) were first published in 1989 (Fraley et al. 1989), and then refined in 1996 (Marotz et al. 1996 and 1999).  The IRCs were adopted by NPPC in 1994, but were superseded by operations called for by the NMFS 1995 Biological Opinion and have not yet been implemented.  

This Project established a long-term database to monitor population trends for kokanee, bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, burbot and other native fish species.  Long-term monitoring programs of zooplankton and trophic relationships were similarly established.  A model was calibrated to estimate the entrainment of fish and zooplankton through Libby Dam as related to hydro-operations and use of the selective withdrawal structure. Research on the entrainment of fish through the Libby Dam penstocks began in 1990, and results were published in 1996 (Skaar et al. 1996). Assessment of the effects of river fluctuations on Kootenai River burbot fishery was examined in 1994 and 1995. The effects of dam operation on benthic macroinvertebrates in the Kootenai River was also assessed (Hauer and Stanford 1997) for comparison with conditions measured in the past (Perry and Huston 1983).  This study was replicated in 2005 with the addition of examining the effect of a nuisance diatom (Didymosphenia geminate) on the benthic community (Marshall 2007).  The Libby Project has also identified important spawning and rearing tributaries and conducted genetic inventories in the Montana portion of the Kootenai Watershed for bull, westslope cutthroat, and redband trout.  This project developed a non-lethal genetic methodologies to differentiate between native redband trout and non-native rainbow trout (Brunelli et al. 2008), and a non-lethal genetic methodology to identify natal tributary origin for bull trout in the upper Kootenai Watershed and quantify bull trout entrainment at Libby Dam (Ardren et al. 2007).   Research on the effects of operations on the river fishery using IFIM techniques was initiated in 1992. The results of this study were recently finalized and upgraded with the incorporation of GIS technology (Miller and Geise 2004). The final result was a model capable of graphically and numerically quantifying weighted usable area for juvenile and adult rainbow trout and bull trout in the Kootenai River for a wide range of discharges.  

Scientific Framework

We have designed our program to address fisheries issues in varying levels of scope, descending from basin-wide, over-arching mitigation requirements to site-specific actions.  Mitigation projects are selected and prioritized primarily on the Kootenai Subbasin Plan.  We have further outlined our rationale and decision pathway within this document (see below).  The scientific framework addresses varying levels of scope, progressing from basin-wide issues toward site-specific details. Each level is addressed by individual mitigation actions. Our first priority is to prevent impacts that can reduce the overall health of the subbasin.  Basin-wide issues include federal and private dam operations and the prevention or containment of invasive aquatic nuisance species. Onsite mitigation addresses habitat degradation, fish passage barriers, genetic introgression with pure native fish stocks and negative interactions between native and nonnative fish species. Offsite mitigation presents opportunities to create genetic reserves to conserve native species and to increase angling opportunities.

Modifications to dam operation are a basin-wide mitigation requirement because of the far-reaching influence of dam operation on environmental conditions in the reservoirs and rivers throughout the Columbia River Basin. Montana has actively pursued a basin-wide operating strategy beneficial to imperiled fish stocks in the Columbia River headwaters, as well as the lower river. In the Libby Mitigation Plan, we estimated that approximately half of the losses identified within the loss statement (MFWP, CSKT and KTOI 1998) could be mitigated by modifying dam operation.  Much of the remaining losses can be mitigated using techniques that do not require changes in reservoir or river management.  

The overall goal of the Libby Mitigation Project is to correct effects caused by the Federal hydropower operations and mitigate for fisheries losses attributed to the construction and operation of Libby Dam using watershed-based, habitat enhancement, fish passage improvements, and offsite fisheries habitat improvement measures. The Libby Mitigation Project's Work Elements (WE) for the current funding cycle have been organized around the following five objectives.  

Objective 1:  Restore, enhance, or protect and maintain existing sustainable native fish populations and their habitat in the Kootenai Basin in order to mitigate for losses attributable to the construction and operation of Libby Dam.

The Libby Mitigation Project has a solid track record of achieving effective mitigation projects within the Montana portion of the Kootenai Subbasin (Dunnigan et al. 2003; 2004; 2005; 2007; 2009).  We continue to improve existing habitat conditions within the basin through our proactive restoration program.  Our program specifically identified three high priority projects scheduled for implementation during the 2010 FY.  Work is scheduled to continue our restoration activities on Deep and Therriualt creeks (WEs F, G, and H, respectively).  During the FY10 period we initiate the first phase of restoration of upper and lower Boulder Lakes.  This project will remove non-native species from this system, replacing them with westslope cutthroat trout.  This work is identified under WE J.    

Objective 2:  Monitor and evaluate the efficacy of previously completed restoration/mitigation projects.    

The Libby Mitigation Project is committed to monitoring and rigorously evaluating our restoration efforts.  This work also includes maintaining previously completed projects.  This work is identified under WEs C, D and E.  
        
Objective 3:  Collect, analyze and interpret spatial distribution, seasonal movement, population trend, and growth data, absolute and relative abundance indices, and genetic and life history information needed for the conservation and recovery of native resident fish species including the endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon, threatened bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, interior redband rainbow trout, and burbot, as outlined in the Libby Mitigation and Implementation Plan (MFWP et al. 1998) and Kootenai Subbasin Plan.

Montana FWP has developed several monitoring strategies specifically designed to investigate the life history and limiting factors of bull trout within the Kootenai Subbasin.  We have documented that hydro operations at Libby Dam are responsible for substantial bull trout entrainment (Ardren et al. 2007).  WEs P and Q are intended to further monitor the levels of impact of hydro operations on the bull trout populations in the upper Kootenai system.  Work Elements are also included within this SOW that are intended to quantify bull trout abundance through redd counts (WE N), adult abundance trend indicators (WE X), and habitat related factors (WE M).  These efforts will be analyzed under WEs O and Y .  

Montana FWP has collected zooplankton from Libby Reservoir since 1983 in an attempt to relate changes in density and structure of the community to parameters of other aquatic communities, as well as to collect data indicative of reservoir processes, including aging and the effects of reservoir operation.  This work will continue under WEs Z and AA.  

Montana FWP has used gillnets since 1975 to assess annual trends in fish populations and species composition in Koocanusa Reservoir.  These yearly sampling series were accomplished using criteria established by Huston et al. (1984).  Seasonal gillnetting on Koocanusa Reservoir and conducts this monitoring annually from April through November, and is identified under WEs X and Y.  

Objective 4:  Investigate the factors limiting the production and recruitment of salmonid populations in the lower Kootenai River (Kootenai Falls to Idaho border). This is a collaborative project between the KTOI, IDFG and MFWP.  The Montana section of the Kootenai River will serve as a control for Idaho's fertilization project.  All collaborators identified this section of the river to best serve this purpose.   This work is identified under WEs V and W.  

Objective 5:  Summarize, evaluate, analyze, discuss and disseminate information gathered during project activities in a scientific format.  This work will be accomplished primarily through public meetings, project annual reports, and status reports and is identified under WEs AD and AE.
Account Type(s):
Expense
Contract Start Date:
07/01/2009
Contract End Date:
06/30/2010
Current Contract Value:
$725,200
Expenditures:
$725,200

* Expenditures data includes accruals and are based on data through 30-Nov-2021.

BPA COTR:
Env. Compliance Lead:
Work Order Task(s):
Contract Type:
Contract (IGC)
Pricing Method:
Cost Reimbursement (CNF)
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Full Name Organization Write Permission Contact Role Email Work Phone
Matt Boyer Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) Yes Technical Contact mboyer@mt.gov (406) 751-4570
Cecilia Brown Bonneville Power Administration Yes COTR ckbrown@bpa.gov (503) 230-3462
Mike Burke Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) No Administrative Contact miburke@mt.gov (406) 444-3301
James Dunnigan Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) Yes Technical Contact jdunnigan@mt.gov (406) 293-4161x200
Bruce Hollen Bonneville Power Administration Yes Env. Compliance Lead bahollen@bpa.gov (503) 230-5756
Paul Krueger Bonneville Power Administration Yes F&W Approver pqkrueger@bpa.gov (503) 230-5723
Brian Marotz Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) Yes Supervisor bmarotz@mt.gov (406) 751-4546
Amber Steed Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) Yes Technical Contact asteed@mt.gov (406) 751-4541
Ryan Sylvester Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) Yes Technical Contact rsylvester@mt.gov (406) 293-4161x203
Joel Tohtz Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) Yes Contract Manager jtohtz@mt.gov (406) 751-4570
Kristi Van Leuven Bonneville Power Administration No Contracting Officer kjvleuven@bpa.gov (503) 230-3605


Viewing of Work Statement Elements

Deliverable Title WSE Sort Letter, Number, Title Start End Complete
Environmental documentation for all activities requiring such review A: 165. EC work as appropriate for the different work elements 12/31/2009 12/01/2009
Mitigation projects identified, prioritized, and selected B: 114. Identify and Select Projects 06/30/2010 06/30/2010
Stream restoration project monitoring and evaluation completed C: 157. Monitor and Evaluate Mitigation Projects for Effectiveness. 11/30/2009 12/04/2009
Analyze and interpret restoration monitoring and evaluation D: 162. Analyze and interpret Post Construction Monitoring Data for Mitigation Projects 05/28/2010 06/30/2010
Exiting restoration projects repaired and maintained. E: 186. Conduct Maintenance on Previously Completed Mitigation Projects 05/31/2010 05/31/2010
Deep Creek Irrigation Fish Screen installed F: 69. Deep Creek Irrigation Fish Screen 05/28/2010 05/28/2010
Maintenance and enhancement of Therriault Creek Revegetation Project G: 22. Therriault Creek Vegetation Maintenance 11/20/2009 11/27/2009
Therriault Creek fish passage structure. H: 184. Install Therriault Creek Fish Passage structure 05/28/2010
Pipe Creek Restoration Final Design I: 175. Pipe Creek Restoration Final Design 03/02/2010 12/15/2009
Chemical treatment of upper and Lower Boulder Lakes and Boulder Creek. J: 190. Remove non-native fish species from upper and lower Boulder Lake 12/01/2009 09/11/2009
Bull trout genetic analysis K: 157. Bull Trout and Cutthroat Trout Genetic Analysis 05/31/2010 05/31/2010
Bull Trout and Cutthroat Trout Genetic Analysis L: 162. Bull Trout and Cutthroat Trout Genetic Analses and Interpretation 05/31/2010 05/31/2010
Bull trout spawning substrate analysis M: 157. Conduct McNeil Sediment Core Samples in Bull Trout Streams 05/14/2010 05/14/2010
Bull trout spawning surveys (redd counts) N: 157. Conduct Bull Trout Redd Counts 10/30/2009 10/30/2009
Bull trout redd and McNeil sediment core dataset analyses. O: 162. Analyze and interpret McNeil Sediment Core and bull redd count data 06/30/2010 06/30/2010
Adult bull trout population estimate in Kootenai River below Libby Dam. P: 157. Conduct Adult Bull Trout Population Estimation in Kootenai River: Data Colection 06/30/2010 06/01/2010
Bull trout analyses and interpretation. Q: 162. Conduct Adult Bull Trout Population Estimate in Kootenai River: Analysis/Interpretation 06/30/2010 06/01/2010
Catch and Harvest rates for rainbow trout within the Libby Dam tailrace. R: 157. Kootenai River Creel Survey: collect data 06/30/2010 06/01/2010
Catch and harvest rates for rainbow trout in the Libby Dam tailrace. S: 162. Kootenai River Creel Survey analysis 06/30/2010 06/30/2010
Burbot Monitoring in the Kootenai River directly below Libby Dam. T: 157. Monitor Burbot Population Trend & Status Below Libby Dam: Data Collection 06/18/2010 06/18/2010
Burbot relative abundance analyses. U: 162. Monitor Burbot Pop'n Trend & Status Below Libby Dam: Analysis/Interpretation 06/30/2010 06/11/2010
Kootenai River Project Fish population Control Site information V: 157. Conduct Fish Sampling in the Kootenai River (Yaak Section): Data Collection 11/27/2009 11/30/2009
Kootenai River Yaak (Section) resident fish analyses. W: 162. Conduct Fish Sampling in the Kootenai River (Yaak Section): Analysis/Interpretation 11/13/2009 11/30/2009
Fish populations in Koocanusa Reservoir trend and status assessment X: 157. Monitor fish populations in Koocanusa Reservoir: Collect Data 05/31/2010 05/31/2010
Koocanusa Reservoir resident fish trend and status analyses. Y: 162. Monitor fish populations in Koocanusa Reservoir: Analyze/Interpret 06/01/2010 06/01/2010
Koocanusa zooplankton community assessment Z: 157. Monitor Zooplankton in Koocanusa Reservoir: Collect Data 06/30/2010 06/30/2010
Koocanusa Reservoir zooplankton community analyses. AA: 162. Monitor Zooplankton in Koocanusa Reservoir: Analyze/Interpret 09/11/2009 09/18/2009
PIT tagged Bull trout and burbot AB: 158. Mark adult bull trout and burbot in Kootenai Rv below Libby Dam and burbot in Koocanusa Reserv 05/31/2010 05/31/2010
Kootenai River IFIM Report AC: 141. Kootenai River IFIM Analysis 06/30/2010 06/30/2010
Funding Package - Submit draft to COTR AD: 119. Manage and Administer Projects for the Libby Mitigation Program. 06/01/2010 06/01/2010
Attach Progress Report in Pisces AF: 132. Submit Progress Report for the period July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 04/16/2010 06/30/2010

Viewing of Implementation Metrics
Viewing of Environmental Metrics Customize

Primary Focal Species Work Statement Elements
Burbot (Lota lota)
  • 3 instances of WE 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
  • 1 instance of WE 158 Mark/Tag Animals
  • 2 instances of WE 162 Analyze/Interpret Data
Cutthroat Trout, Westslope (O. c. lewisi)
  • 1 instance of WE 190 Remove, Exclude and/or Relocate Animals
  • 1 instance of WE 22 Maintain Vegetation
  • 1 instance of WE 186 Operate and Maintain Habitat/Passage/Structure
  • 1 instance of WE 69 Install Fish Screen
  • 1 instance of WE 184 Install Fish Passage Structure
  • 1 instance of WE 175 Produce Design
  • 3 instances of WE 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
  • 4 instances of WE 162 Analyze/Interpret Data
Kokanee (Oncorhynchus nerka)
  • 2 instances of WE 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
  • 2 instances of WE 162 Analyze/Interpret Data
Trout, Bull (S. confluentus) (Threatened)
  • 1 instance of WE 186 Operate and Maintain Habitat/Passage/Structure
  • 1 instance of WE 69 Install Fish Screen
  • 1 instance of WE 175 Produce Design
  • 7 instances of WE 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
  • 1 instance of WE 158 Mark/Tag Animals
  • 6 instances of WE 162 Analyze/Interpret Data
Trout, Rainbow (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
  • 1 instance of WE 22 Maintain Vegetation
  • 1 instance of WE 175 Produce Design
  • 3 instances of WE 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
  • 3 instances of WE 162 Analyze/Interpret Data
Trout, Interior Redband (O. mykiss gairdnerii)
  • 1 instance of WE 186 Operate and Maintain Habitat/Passage/Structure
  • 1 instance of WE 175 Produce Design
  • 1 instance of WE 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
  • 1 instance of WE 162 Analyze/Interpret Data
Whitefish, Mountain (Prosopium williamsoni)
  • 1 instance of WE 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
  • 1 instance of WE 162 Analyze/Interpret Data

Sort WE ID WE Title NEPA NOAA USFWS NHPA Has Provisions Inadvertent Discovery Completed
A 165 EC work as appropriate for the different work elements 02/09/2007
B 114 Identify and Select Projects 02/09/2007
C 157 Monitor and Evaluate Mitigation Projects for Effectiveness. 07/13/2009
D 162 Analyze and interpret Post Construction Monitoring Data for Mitigation Projects 02/09/2007
E 186 Conduct Maintenance on Previously Completed Mitigation Projects 08/09/2007
F 69 Deep Creek Irrigation Fish Screen 09/03/2009
G 22 Therriault Creek Vegetation Maintenance 08/09/2007
H 184 Install Therriault Creek Fish Passage structure
I 175 Pipe Creek Restoration Final Design 02/09/2007
J 190 Remove non-native fish species from upper and lower Boulder Lake 07/28/2009
K 157 Bull Trout and Cutthroat Trout Genetic Analysis 07/28/2008
L 162 Bull Trout and Cutthroat Trout Genetic Analses and Interpretation 02/09/2007
M 157 Conduct McNeil Sediment Core Samples in Bull Trout Streams 07/13/2009
N 157 Conduct Bull Trout Redd Counts 07/13/2009
O 162 Analyze and interpret McNeil Sediment Core and bull redd count data 02/09/2007
P 157 Conduct Adult Bull Trout Population Estimation in Kootenai River: Data Colection 09/10/2009
Q 162 Conduct Adult Bull Trout Population Estimate in Kootenai River: Analysis/Interpretation 02/09/2007
R 157 Kootenai River Creel Survey: collect data 02/09/2007
S 162 Kootenai River Creel Survey analysis 02/09/2007
T 157 Monitor Burbot Population Trend & Status Below Libby Dam: Data Collection 09/10/2009
U 162 Monitor Burbot Pop'n Trend & Status Below Libby Dam: Analysis/Interpretation 02/09/2007
V 157 Conduct Fish Sampling in the Kootenai River (Yaak Section): Data Collection 09/10/2009
W 162 Conduct Fish Sampling in the Kootenai River (Yaak Section): Analysis/Interpretation 02/09/2007
X 157 Monitor fish populations in Koocanusa Reservoir: Collect Data 09/10/2009
Y 162 Monitor fish populations in Koocanusa Reservoir: Analyze/Interpret 02/09/2007
Z 157 Monitor Zooplankton in Koocanusa Reservoir: Collect Data 09/10/2009
AA 162 Monitor Zooplankton in Koocanusa Reservoir: Analyze/Interpret 02/09/2007
AB 158 Mark adult bull trout and burbot in Kootenai Rv below Libby Dam and burbot in Koocanusa Reserv 09/10/2009
AC 141 Kootenai River IFIM Analysis 02/09/2007
AD 119 Manage and Administer Projects for the Libby Mitigation Program. 02/09/2007
AE 185 Periodic Status Reports for BPA 02/09/2007
AF 132 Submit Progress Report for the period July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 02/09/2007