Plans to Combat Clark Fork River Delta Erosion Move Forward

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Albeni Falls dam on the Pend Oreille river.
  • By U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Albeni Falls dam on the Pend Oreille river.

A $6 million restoration project on the Pend Oreille River is slated to begin as early as 2013, in an effort to combat more than 50 years of erosion of the Clark Fork River Delta.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports hundreds of acres of the Clark Fork River Delta have eroded over 57 years since the Albeni Falls Dam began operation on the Pend Oreille River, currently washing away at a rate of 5-8 feet per year, according to Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologist Kathy Cousins.

Cousins told the Bee the delta is a vital habitat for wildlife, but also cleans and improves water quality as it passes through the delta.

The restoration project calls for creating barrier islands, raising currently submerged islands to expand the wildlife habitat and shoreline structures.

Efforts will be funded through the Bonneville Power Administration dam mitigation funds, according to the Bee, and relicensing agreements with Avista for the Noxon Rapid and Cabinet Gorge dams.

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