Out of concerns over the loss of fish and wildlife habitat in the Lake Pend Oreille area, resulting from the operation of the Albeni Falls Dam, the State of Idaho agreed to use funding from the Bonneville Power Administration to protect, improve and restore habitat in the Clark Fork River delta that is being lost to erosion.
The restored and enhanced habitat will benefit a wide variety of wildlife, including songbirds, water birds, raptors, waterfowl, elk, deer, moose, bear and furbearers by providing improved areas for breeding, feeding and cover.
The project is proposed to occur in two phases: The first phase involves the drift yard and boat launch areas, as well as two island areas directly to the south of the drift yard. The second phase will involve bank stabilization along White and Derr islands.
Visitors to the area should expect some interruption of public access to the Clark Fork River delta from the drift yard access site during the first construction phase, which will begin in July 2014 and run through March 2015.
The proposed restoration activities include protecting delta shorelines with engineered structures and vegetated riprap. This will help prevent saturated wetland soils from slumping into the water and wave action from eroding shorelines.
The restoration effort will also elevate portions of the delta areas that are currently submerged during the summer to increase the amount of habitat available to breeding waterfowl and wildlife.
Efforts will be made to reduce the presence of invasive weeds and encourage the growth of native grasses, forbs and woody plants.
Work to implement the first phase will start in July 2014, with rock and large wood being barged to the project site. Construction of the projective structures and earthmoving will occur after the lake is lowered to its winter elevation in November 2014, and will continue until March 2015, when the spring flows begin.