Corps of Engineers Enhancing Kootenai River Habitat

Seattle District, USACE
Published April 24, 2023

As part of their environmental stewardship mission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials at Libby Dam in Libby, Montana, are placing approximately 26 logs with attached rootwads in the Kootenai River downstream of the dam this spring to enhance fish habitat.

These logs will be staged briefly near USACE boat ramps at Alexander Creek and Dunn Creek Campgrounds in late April through early May.  Normal recreational use of the boat launches should be possible except when large machinery is in use. Boaters should use the ramps at the downstream area gravel boat launch and Blackwell Flats Campground as alternatives.

The intent of this project is to mimic the natural recruitment of large woody debris in an un-dammed river system, an ecological component that has been missing on the Kootenai River since Libby Dam was constructed. The logs are expected to disperse downstream and create or add to existing log jams that provide habitat for fish and wildlife.

Providing mitigation for loss of resident fish species habitat from the construction of Libby Dam is an ongoing USACE mission.  This project is the first of a permanent large wood nourishment program at Libby Dam and provides a template for initiating similar programs at other dams.

Scott Lawrence

Release no. 23-010