BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1998 Proposal

Section 1. Summary
Section 2. Goals
Section 3. Background
Section 4. Purpose and methods
Section 5. Planned activities
Section 6. Outcomes, monitoring and evaluation
Section 7. Relationships
Section 8. Costs and FTE

see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations

Section 1. Summary

Title of project
Libby Reservoir Levels/Kootenai IFIM

BPA project number   8346700

Short description
Use Instream Flow Incremental Methodology Models and field techniques to relate hydraulic conditions in the Kootenai River to fish, habitat and food production requirements for riverine fish assemblages; link river model to existing reservoir model to balance hydro operations; examine options to mitigate the effects of Libby Dam. Begin pilot habitat projects to help guide Libby Mitigation Program.

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameBrian Marotz, Fisheries Program Officer
 Mailing address490 North Meridian
Kalispell, MT 59901

None identified at this time. Generally we solicit bids for construction on stream restoration projects.

Section 2. Goals

Supports a healthy Columbia basin; maintains biological diversity; maintains genetic integrity; increases run sizes or populations; provides needed habitat protection; adaptive management (research or M&E)

Target stockLife stageMgmt code (see below)
Endangered Kootenai white sturgeonAll, with special emphasis on spawners, eggs and sudyearlings(L), A, N
Bull troutAll(P), N, W
Kootenai River burbotAllN, W
Westslope cutthroatAllN, W, A, N
Rainbow troutAllN, W, A, N

Affected stockBenefit or detriment
Torrent and spoonhead sculpinsBeneficial
Northern squawfishDetrimental

Section 3. Background

Stream area affected

Stream name   Kootenai River
Stream miles affected   Approximately 200
Hydro project   Libby Dam
Subbasin   Upper Columbia
Land ownership   Both
Acres affected   Entire drainage in Montana
Habitat types   Reservoir, river, tributary, lake, pond.

Work on Libby Reservoir began in 1982 to assess the effects of operation on fish populations and lower trophic levels. Results were used to develop the quantitative reservoir model LRMOD. The models and preliminary IRCs (called Biological Rule Curves) were first published in 1989 (Fraley et al. 1989). Monitoring of the reservoir biota continued to refine and validate the reservoir model. Development of Integrated Rule Curves and Tiered Flow Augmentation was completed on 1996. The project identified important spawning and rearing tributaries in the U.S. portion of the reservoir and began genetic inventories of species of special concern. Research on the entrainment of fish through the Libby Dam penstocks began in 1990 and was published in 1996. Research on the effects of operations on the river fishery using IFIM techniques was initiated in 1992. Assessment of the effects of river fluctuations on Kootenai River burbot fishery was examined in 1994 and 1995. IFIM studies were also completed in Kootenai River below Bonners Ferry to determine spawning area available to sturgeon at various river flows. Data collection of microhabitat for river model calibration was nearing completion in 1996 and calibration and modification of the model code is scheduled for completion in 1997.

Biological results achieved
Established relationship between reservoir operation and biological productivity, incorporated results in the computer model LRMOD. Developed Integrated Rule Curves (IRCs) adopted by NPPC in 1994 but not yet implemented. Developed tiered approach for white sturgeon spawning flows balanced with reservoir IRCs and biological opinion. This strategy was unanimously supported by the White Sturgeon Recovery Team. Long-term monitoring of kokanee, bull trout, westslope cutthroat, rainbow and burbot and other native species. Long-term monitoring of zooplankton and trophic relationships. Developed model of fish and zooplankton entrainment through Libby Dam as related to hydro operations and selective withdrawal structure. Began pilot mitigation projects on selected spawning/rearing tributaries. Established effects of dam operation on benthic macroinvertebrates in the Kootenai River (report In Press).

Project reports and papers
(1) Model Development to establish Integrated Operation Rule Curves for Hungry Horse and Libby Reservoirs, Montana. January 1996. (2) Quantification of Libby Reservoir Levels Needed to Maintain or Enhance Reservoir Fisheries: Investigations of Fish Entrainment through Libby Dam 1990-1994. January 1996. (3) Natural Spawning of White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) in the Kootenai River, Idaho, 1994; also 1995. Research Reports. KTOI, IDFG and MFWP. (4) Effects of stream regulation on the macrozoobenthos of the Kootenai River. Yellow Bay Biological Station (In Press 1997).

Adaptive management implications
Program is divided into operational (measures requiring modified dam operation) and non-operational mitigation (measures which can be accomplished without changing dam operations). Operational changes can now be assessed via modeling; the IRCs and tiered sturgeon flows can be implemented to balance resident fish concerns with anadromous species recovery. Entrainment of fish through Libby Dam is significant (especially kokanee) and must be balanced with white sturgeon recovery. Completion of IFIM project and model will provide biological data on the requirements of target riverine species. Non-operational mitigation opportunities will be compiled in the Mitigation Plan (presently in public scoping process before submission to NPPC spring 1997).

Section 4. Purpose and methods

Specific measureable objectives
Specific Objectives for FY97: (1) Complete public scoping on the Libby Fisheries Mitigation Plan to compensate for fisheries losses due to the construction and operation of Libby Dam including preparation of the loss statement. Stimulate public interest in the Kootenai Valley using a variety of educational measures such as public meeting, scoping groups, etc. Organize a citizen's advisory committee to help the MFWP review public input, finalize draft plan and submit to NPPC; (2) Examine cost-effective opportunities to enhance the reservoir fishery through non-operation and operational mitigation techniques; (3) Monitor zooplankton and gamefish populations in Libby Reservoir; (4) Determine Libby Dam operations necessary to enhance sturgeon, burbot, rainbow trout, bull trout and mountain whitefish populations in the Kootenai River; (5) Determine use of Kootenai River tributaries for spawning and rearing by fluvial burbot, rainbow trout and bull trout; (6) Describe the diet of rainbow trout, burbot and bull trout in the Kootenai River; (7) Determine the feasibility of reclaiming lost spawning and rearing habitat for Kootenai River fish by creating a fish bypass facility at the Lake Creek Dam; (8) Determine feasibility of creating a spawning/rearing channel for rainbow trout in the Yaak River; (9) Determine operations necessary to balance Libby Reservoir fishery and the Kootenai River fishery; (10) Determine if deltas at Kootenai River tributary mouths are impeding spawning migrations; recommend removal of deltas if necessary; (11) Develop a coordinated plan for operations to enhance Kootenai River fisheries by working with IDFG and BC on biological and hydrological concerns; (12) Design and implement a basin-wide kokanee study to address the likelihood that kokanee throughout the Kootenai River and into mid-Kootenay Lake are entrained kokanee from Koocanusa Reservoir; (13) Test the feasibility of culturing Kootenai River burbot at Libby Field Station. March 1996: Final report from University of Montana on effects of dam operations on the benthic macroinvertebrates in the Kootenai River-- Spring 1997. (14) Implement pilot mitigation projects.

Critical uncertainties
White sturgeon recovery will not likely occur without conservation stocking immediately to conserve all year classes until (and if) natural recruitment is made possible through dam operation change and restoration of natural floodplain function. Reservoir fishery may not fully recover due to high numbers of northern squawfish and peamouth that exhibited explosive population increase after reservoir impoundment. River sediments are becoming embedded because of flow regulation; it is uncertain if discharges can be periodically increased enough to clean and resort the river substrate. Salmon recovery actions called for by the NMFS recovery plan and Biological Opinion are inconsistent with the normative river concept and counter productive to resident fish mitigation activities.

Biological need
Project is needed to address NPPC program measures; balance Libby Dam operation with reservoir and river fishery, ESA actions to recover the endangered Kootenai white sturgeon and endangered Snake River salmon and protect critical unlisted stocks (e.g. bull trout, interior redband, burbot, westslope cutthroat, etc.) Ongoing salmon recovery actions as directed by NMFS Biological Opinion causes reservoir draft during the productive summer months and unnatural duel peak in the Kootenai River. This is counter productive to sturgeon recovery, system health and resident species of special concern.
White sturgeon are endangered. Recovery efforts will initially focus on conservation stocking and experimental flow augmentation to initiate natural reproduction. Bull trout are warranted for listing and are currently being reviewed. The bull trout population below Libby Dam has too few subpopulations to be considered a viable metapopulation. The mitigation program will attempt to restore bull trout runs in several historically occupied sites to increase the viability of bull trout in the middle and lower Kootenai. Westslope cutthroat and interior redband are species of special concern in Montana. Cutthroat have been reduced to less than 10 percent of their historic range. Only two viable stream populations of interior redband exist in Montana.

Hypothesis to be tested
Implementing IRC will improve primary, secondary and tertiary biological production. Implementing tiered approach to sturgeon spawning/rearing flows will provide an experimental design containing sufficient variance to isolate thresholds between successful recruitment and reproductive failure. Fish entrainment through Libby Dam can be influenced by the seasonality, depth of withdrawal and volume of discharges from Libby Dam. Habitat restoration will benefit spawning and rearing.

Alternative approaches
Operations called for by the NMFS Biological Opinion were assessed and determined to reduce reservoir refill probability (as compared to the IRC) and August releases cause an unnatural duel peak in Kootenai River discharges. (see Wright et al. 1996; Marotz et al. 1996).

Justification for planning
Only one aspect focuses on planning for Libby Mitigation which is necessary to meet NPPC Program Measures.

Reservoir model is component, trophic model empirically calibrated 1982-present involving C14 liquid scintillation, chlora, zooplankton density and vertical distribution by genera, benthic insect larval density (dredging) and adult emergence (emergence traps), terrestrial insect deposition (surface tows) and fish growth (vertical and horizontal gill nets, scale and otolith analysis) and fish abundance (netting, hydroacoustics) . Linear and non-linear regression, multi-variate and stepwise analysis, multiple range tests, numeric transformation, ANOVA, graphical analysis. All statistics reviewed by University statistical consultants. (see Marotz et al. 1996).
Entrainment is empirical and controlled by indices (draft-tube netting, hydroacoustics)(see Skaar et al 1996).
IFIM uses standard PHABSIM techniques (modified for site-specific purposes) using SCUBA, netting, electrofishing, substrate/cover mapping, pit tags and various marks and subcontracted insect work. It is known that IFIM is difficult to apply to large rivers and ultimately to biological components. We therefore consulted experts to modify the techniques / models to suit conditions specific to the Kootenai River.

Section 5. Planned activities

Phase PlanningStart 1982 End IFIM--1997Subcontractor
Program in transition from research/model calibration to on-the-ground mitigation. Final microhabitat work, 1996, will shift IFIM project to model calibration and use 1997. Pilot mitigation projects will continue. Site plans and potential mitigation projects are being prioritized. High priority projects will begin as ongoing pilot projects are completed. Libby Mitigation Plan will be completed and submitted to NPPC in spring 1997. Implementation scheduled for 1998 (see specific measurable objectives).
Phase ImplementationStart 1998 End 2028Subcontractor
Libby Mitigation Program
Project completion date   2028

Constraints or factors that may cause schedule or budget changes
Continued environmental damage from other activities (e.g. mining, logging, road construction, toxic spills, increased human use, etc.) can counter or reverse progress toward mitigation. Gas saturation problems due to a forced spill through Libby Dam could harm river biota for years, making recovery difficult. Invasion of illegally introduced or expanding populations of non-native species could cause genetic introgression, competition or extirpation of desirable native species.

Section 6. Outcomes, monitoring and evaluation


Expected performance of target population or quality change in land area affected
IRCs will be implemented with the tiered sturgeon flows. Reservoir productivity will be enhanced by reduced reservoir drawdown and improved reservoir refill probability. River health will be improved via IFIM results and near natural spring runoff event (within VARQ flood constraints), balanced with salmon recovery actions. Non-operational measures in the Libby Mitigation Plan will reconnect/reconstruct about 30 percent more tributary habitat, partially mitigating habitat lost with Libby Dam filled. Restoration of riparian vegetation along selected stream reaches will benefit wildlife as well as aquatic organisms.

Present utilization and convservation potential of target population or area
Multi use. Libby Reservoir and upper Kootenai River in British Columbia contains what may be the most viable metapopulation of bull trout in existence. The Kootenai River downstream contains the last vestige of the endangered Kootenai white sturgeon. Only two viable stream populations of interior redband exist in Montana. Despite introduced fish species, the drainage remains relatively pristine. Headwaters remain relatively pristine and contain functioning ecosystems and species diversity that can be used as a source for repairing past damages in other areas. Today, man’s activities have effected nearly all areas that are not too high, steep, wet or dry, cold or hot, to develop. Pristine (wild) ecosystems have become fractionated and isolated, and as such become unstable and vulnerable to cataclysmic events (e.g. fire, flood, pollution etc.). In many areas, there is no longer a nearby reserve of a like ecotype that can protect or restock an area after a cataclysm. This makes the remaining pristine areas more valuable than ever before as living laboratories and reserves of species diversity. Hungry Horse Reservoir and upper south fork Flathead River contains an intact native species assemblage, including one of the strongest remaining populations of westslope cutthroat and bull trout. Libby Reservoir and upper Kootenai in British Columbia contains what may be the most viable metapopulations of bull trout in existance. Both drainages are inhabited by grizzly bear, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, bald eagles and many endangered plants. These areas must be recognized for their scientific and biological value. Potential is high.

Assumed historic status of utilization and conservation potential
Unlimited supply, frontier ethic.

Long term expected utilization and conservation potential for target population or habitat
Protect what is left, restore what we can.

Contribution toward long-term goal
All resident fish species in Lake Koocanusa and in the Kootenai River below Libby Dam have been impacted by man’s activities including hydropower development. Modifications to dam operation will help balance hydropower and fish requirements. We recognize that hydropower is more efficient and cleaner than comparable power sources available today (with similar capacity). Our “operational” mitigation recommendations, therefore seek to protect fisheries concerns while minimizing impacts to the power system. We also consider our actions in the scope of the Columbia River system as a whole watershed. The IRCs and tiered sturgeon flows are examples of this concept.
“Non-operational” mitigation strategies (measures that do not require changes to dam operation) and recommendations are designed with multiple species in mind, terrestrial and aquatic. We have developed new techniques with applicability elsewhere in the basin, and will strive to do so in the future.

Indirect biological or environmental changes
Restoration of normalized river flows and flood plain function will improve riparian vegetation and benefit terrestrial species as well as aquatic, and water quality.

Physical products
see project reports for details.

Environmental attributes affected by the project
Reservoir operation, river flows, discharge temperature, reconnection of blocked habitat, rehabilitation of lake and stream habitat.

Changes assumed or expected for affected environmental attributes
Improved reservoir operation will improve survival and growth of fish by enhancing biological productivity. Reconnecting blocked habitat will provide more spawning and rearing habitat for fluvial and adfluvial fish species. Restoration of flood plain function will improve ecosystem health. Also see above.

Measure of attribute changes
Restoration of flushing flows in regulated river reaches will depend on allowable river stages and the physical capacity of the dam. Given this, substrate armoring can only be partially offset by higher flows during the spring freshet. (The IFIM model will allow simulation runs with calibrated variables thus providing theoretical guidelines for shear-stress and bedload movement calculations)Specific tributary projects described in the Draft Mitigation Plan will use revegetation techniques to stabilize eroding banks. I can not provide more detail here because these aspects are the subject of the planning process.

Assessment of effects on project outcomes of critical uncertainty
Population monitoring, sampling of primary production using C14 scintillation, chlor a, zooplankton density and vertical distribution, benthic insect grabs, fish abundance trends, food habits, fish growth rate evaluation (scale and otolith), migrant trapping, riparian revegetation evaluation, hydrographic monitoring and angler exploitation.

Information products
Monthly, quarterly and annual reports, mitigation plan, site plans, permit applications, decision notices, media reports, MEPA documents, fact sheets, slide presentations etc.

Coordination outcomes
Spring and fall gill netting, kokanee, bulltrout and burbot spawner surveys, zooplankton monitoring, and spring dualbeam hydroacoustic kokanee surveys were completed. All objectives of the Libby Dam entrainment study have been completed. Habitat prference data were collected for rainbow trout and mountain whitefish. The reservoir model includes a hydrologic component downstream to Duncan and Corra Linn dams. Formed advisory group of anglers, other agencies, and ctizens' groups to develop mitigation recommendations to the NPPC. Completed reservoir component of Libby Reservoir model. IFIM studies completed for sturgeon spawning habitat. Spring 1995 - 1990-1994 Progress report includes summary of entrainment study and updates on river and reservoir work.
Prepared draft mitigation plan for fisheries losses caused by Libby Dam construction and operation; examined cost effective ways to enhance reservoir fishery; examined ways to enhance recruitment of juvenile gamefish from reservoir tributarites; monitored zooplankton and gamefish populations in Libby Res.; developed IRCs for Libby operations to enhance all species in the Kootenai River; determined life history characteristics for burbot, rainbow and bull trout in the Kootenai River; effects of discharge on macrozoobenthos in Kootenai River report in press; evaluated spawning/rearing channel in Yaak River, determined if tributaries in Kootenai River are being blocked by deltas forming at the mouths, coordinated plan for operations to enhance fisheries in the Kootenai River by working with IDFG, KTOI, and BCMOE.

The region should implement a monitoring program to assess the effectiveness of mitigation actions to determine which techniques work and which should be modified or discarded. Coordination among projects is crucial so that the best techniques can be applied basin-wide.Once implemented, the IRCs and sturgeon tiered flows should be evaluated using the same techniques used to develop the models: empirical measurements of carbon fixation using C14 liquid scintillation, chlor a; sampling of zooplankton density and vertical distribution by genera, benthic insect larval density (dredging) and adult emergence (emergence traps), terrestrial insect deposition (surface tows) and fish growth (vertical and horizontal gill nets, scale and otolith analysis) and fish abundance (netting, hydroacoustics), substrate/cover mapping, pit tags and various marks and subcontracted insect work. Linear and non-linear regression, multi-variate and stepwise analysis, multiple range tests, numeric transformation, ANOVA, graphical analysis can be used to compare pre- and post-treatment effects. All statistics can be reviewed by University statistical consultants. Entrainment of fish through Libby Dam should be reassessed in light of operational changes for sturgeon and salmon using draft-tube netting and hydroacoustics in the penstocks.Endangered Kootenai white sturgeon, bull trout, interior redband, rainbow, cutthroat, burbot etc. should be monitored using state of the art fisheries methodologies.

Provisions to monitor population status or habitat quality
Monitoring is coordinated through the Kootenai Basin Steering Committee. The mitigation plan will include a monitoring program.

Data analysis and evaluation
See above

Information feed back to management decisions
Adaptive management will guide future direction. Things that produce measurable results will continue, things that do not work will be modified or discontinued.

Critical uncertainties affecting project's outcomes
The main issue here is when the IRCs will be implemented. Scientific review has taken place and concurred with this approach. Yet, policy direction has not allowed any deviation from the NMFS Biological Opinion. We are constantly assured that the BiOp is "a living document" with flexibility to change as new information becomes available, but no change in implementation has occurred. ESA actions must be based on the best available science. Policy makers should assure this occurs. I believe "any corollary" has been addressed previously in this document.

Redundant, see above.

Incorporating new information regarding uncertainties
Our track record has shown that we readily accept and adapt to new information. Scientific principal leads us to search for the truth. If we are wrong we admit it and gratefully accept the correction, this makes our product better.

Increasing public awareness of F&W activities
Public scoping provides two-way communication with the public. Media also.

Section 7. Relationships

Related BPA projectRelationship
8446500 Libby Tech. Analysis/IRC development Modeling to link river/reservoir components.
9500400 Libby Mitigation Plan. Provides pilot projects, assists public scoping and literature compilation to develop Libby Mitigation Plan
9502600 Model Watershed Program Implement Mitigation Projects
9501200 Libby Tech. Analysis/IRC development
Related non-BPA projectRelationship
Projects 8806400, 8806500, 9401200 and 9404900: Kootenai River system projects - KTOI and IDFGWork coordinated under Kootenai Basin Steering Committee and White Sturgeon Recovery Plan

Opportunities for cooperation
Mitigation actions under this program will be cooperative between MFWP, CSKT and KTOI. IRCs and tiered sturgeon flows are contingent on the Corps adopting and implementing VARQ flood control. The NMFS Biological Opinion must be modified to recognize the needs of resident fish and take on a basin-wide multiple species perspective. This program has already demonstrated that mitigation opportunities can assume a watershed approach, fostering cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, Corps, BPA, sporting and environmental groups, industry and private landowners. We move forward on many projects simultaneously so that when some projects bog down in permitting, contracting or funding snafus, other projects can still come to fruition. Our goal is to produce a constant string of completed projects.

Section 8. Costs and FTE

1997 Planned  $310,700

Future funding needs   Past obligations (incl. 1997 if done)
FY$ Need% Plan % Implement% O and M
1998450,000 40%60%  
1999500,000 40%60%  
20001,000,000 80%20%  
20011,000,000 80%20%  
20021,000,000 80%20%  
FYOther funding sourceAmountIn-kind value
1998  none as yet , still in planning phase 
1999  none as yet , still in planning phase 
2000  none as yet , still in planning phase 
2001  none as yet , still in planning phase 
2002  none as yet , still in planning phase 

Other non-financial supporters
General public, private landowners

Longer term costs   The Libby Mitigation Program is expected to extend until losses have been mitigated. We will pursue a trust fund agreement to place a budget cap.
FY97 overhead percent   Approximately 18.3%

How does percentage apply to direct costs
Total minus equipment

Subcontractor FTE   0 so far