Evaluation of the Biological Effects of the Northwest Power Conservation Council's Mainstem Amendment on the Fisheries Upstream and Downstream of Libby Dam, Montana, 2007-2008 Annual Report.

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A new project began in 2005 to monitor the biological and physical effects of improved operations of Hungry Horse and Libby Dams, Montana, called for by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC) Mainstem Amendment. This operating strategy was designed to benefit resident fish impacted by hydropower and flood control operations. Under the new operating guidelines, July through September reservoir drafts will be limited to 10 feet from full pool during the highest 80% of water supply years and 20 feet from full pool during the lowest 20% of water supply (drought) years. Limits were also established on how rapidly ... continued below

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212 pages

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Sylvester, Ryan; Stephens, Brian & Tohtz, Joel April 3, 2009.

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A new project began in 2005 to monitor the biological and physical effects of improved operations of Hungry Horse and Libby Dams, Montana, called for by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC) Mainstem Amendment. This operating strategy was designed to benefit resident fish impacted by hydropower and flood control operations. Under the new operating guidelines, July through September reservoir drafts will be limited to 10 feet from full pool during the highest 80% of water supply years and 20 feet from full pool during the lowest 20% of water supply (drought) years. Limits were also established on how rapidly discharge from the dams can be increased or decreased depending on the season. The NPCC also directed the federal agencies that operate Libby and Hungry Horse Dams to implement a new flood control strategy (VARQ) and directed Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to evaluate biological responses to this operating strategy. The Mainstem Amendment operating strategy has not been fully implemented at the Montana dams as of June 2008 but the strategy will be implemented in 2009. This report highlights the monitoring methods used to monitor the effects of the Mainstem Amendment operations on fishes, habitat, and aquatic invertebrates upstream and downstream of Libby Dam. We also present initial assessments of data and the effects of various operating strategies on physical and biological components of the systems upstream and downstream of Libby Dam. Annual electrofishing surveys in the Kootenai River and selected tributaries, along with gill net surveys in the reservoir, are being used to quantify the impacts of dam operations on fish populations upstream and downstream of Libby Dam. Scales and otoliths are being used to determine the age structure and growth of focal species. Annual population estimates and tagging experiments provide estimates of survival and growth in the mainstem Kootenai River and selected tributaries. Radio telemetry will be used to validate an existing Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM) model developed for the Kootenai River and will also be used to assess the effect of changes in discharge on fish movements and habitat use downstream of Libby Dam. Passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags will be injected into rainbow, bull, and cutthroat trout throughout the mainstem Kootenai River and selected tributaries to provide information on growth, survival, and migration patterns in relation to abiotic and biotic variables. Model simulations (RIVBIO) are used to calculate the effects of dam operations on the wetted perimeter and benthic biomass in the Kootenai River below Libby Dam. Additional models (IFIM) will also be used to evaluate the impacts of dam operations on the amount of available habitat for different life stages of rainbow and bull trout in the Kootenai River.

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212 pages

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  • Report No.: P111222
  • Grant Number: 38489
  • DOI: 10.2172/962397 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 962397
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc926216

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  • April 3, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 28, 2016, 1:39 p.m.

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Sylvester, Ryan; Stephens, Brian & Tohtz, Joel. Evaluation of the Biological Effects of the Northwest Power Conservation Council's Mainstem Amendment on the Fisheries Upstream and Downstream of Libby Dam, Montana, 2007-2008 Annual Report., report, April 3, 2009; Portland, Oregon. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc926216/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.