Thursday, February 11, 2016
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In early November, Idaho Fish and Game and Ducks Unlimited plan to do some maintenance work on the Pack River delta where a restoration project was completed in 2009.
The maintenance work is expected to take only seven to 10 days to complete. The maintenance work involves the construction of a vegetated rock breakwater along one of the enhanced delta islands.
Wildlife habitats along Lake Pend Oreille shorelines and in low lying marsh lands and delta areas have been impacted by the construction and operation of the Albeni Falls Dam on the Pend Oreille River. The purpose of the restoration project was to protect and improve riparian and wetland habitats in the delta, which are eroding as a result of operation of the dam, and to enhance important bird, fish and wildlife habitat.
Overall, the restoration project has worked very well and demonstrated that wildlife habitat restoration in the delta is possible. This year intensive surveys are being completed to describe the vegetative response to the restoration efforts as well as to examine the performance of the engineered structures.
Most of the planted vegetation survived and is thriving. In addition, thousands of black cottonwood seedlings have become naturally established, and a rare plant, hairy evening primrose, was found throughout the restoration area, suggesting that the seeds for this plant had been dormant in buried soils excavated during the construction.
All of the log structures installed in the prior work appear to have performed well, in that they stayed in place and reduced erosion.
In late winter, engineers will look at the river banks and island shorelines in the delta to see if the project's design has stabilized shorelines and encouraged sediment deposition and island building.
Anyone with questions about the project is encouraged to contact Kathy Cousins, Fish and Game mitigation biologist, at 208-69-1414.