Retired Sub Committees
WAC (Wildlife -Auto Collision)
Wildlife-Auto Collision Committee (WAC) was an initiative under the Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative (KVRI) that focused on reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions and conflicts in the region. As much of the county serves as a wildlife corridor, it is crucial to address the issue of wildlife collisions with automobiles, which can pose risks to both human safety and wildlife populations.
Objective and Goals
The primary objectives of the WAC is to minimize the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions while preserving and enhancing the ecological connectivity of the landscape.
The committee's goals included:
Identifying high-risk areas for wildlife-vehicle collisions and prioritizing them for intervention.
Developing and implementing cost-effective mitigation measures to reduce collision risks.
Collaborating with transportation authorities, local communities, and other stakeholders to build support for mitigation efforts.
Increasing public awareness and education on wildlife-vehicle collision risks and prevention strategies.
Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of implemented mitigation measures.
Burbot Sub Committee
The Burbot Restoration in the Kootenai Basin project was a collaborative effort among local, tribal, and government agencies to develop and implement a conservation strategy aimed at restoring the population of burbot (Lota lota) in the lower Kootenai River. This pilot project has successfully achieved its goals, leading to the reopening of burbot fishing on the Kootenai River in January 2019.
Burbot, a native freshwater fish species, faced a severe decline in the lower Kootenai River due to factors such as habitat loss, overfishing, and dam construction. Recognizing the urgent need for conservation, local stakeholders initiated the Burbot Restoration in the Kootenai Basin project.
The project brought together various stakeholders, including the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, local angling groups, state and federal agencies, and the local community. The collaboration ensured effective communication, sharing of resources, and coordination of efforts, ultimately resulting in a comprehensive and well-supported conservation strategy.
Key Components of the Conservation Strategy
Habitat Restoration: The project identified and prioritized critical habitat areas for restoration. Efforts focused on improving spawning and rearing habitats, stream connectivity, and riparian zones to support burbot survival and reproduction.
Propagation and Stocking: A conservation aquaculture program was established to rear and release burbot into the Kootenai River system. This program aimed to boost the population while minimizing genetic and ecological risks.
Monitoring and Adaptive Management: The project established a monitoring plan to assess the effectiveness of the conservation strategy. Data collected on burbot population dynamics, habitat conditions, and angling impacts informed adaptive management decisions.
Education and Outreach: Stakeholders conducted extensive outreach efforts to raise awareness and promote stewardship of the burbot population. Efforts included engaging local schools, angling groups, and community members in conservation activities.
Results and Impact
The Burbot Restoration in the Kootenai Basin project was successful in achieving its objectives. As a result of habitat restoration, propagation, and stocking efforts, the burbot population experienced a significant increase. This recovery led to the reopening of burbot fishing on the Kootenai River in January 2019, a testament to the effectiveness of the project's collaborative approach.
While the project has made considerable progress, continued monitoring and adaptive management are crucial to ensure the long-term sustainability of the burbot population.