The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, in cooperation with local, State, Federal, and Canadian agency co-managers and scientists, is assessing the feasibility of a Kootenai River habitat restoration project in Boundary County, Idaho. The restoration project is focused on recovery of the endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) population, and simultaneously targets habitat-based recovery of other native river biota. River restoration is a complex undertaking that requires a thorough understanding of the river and floodplain landscape prior to restoration efforts. To assist in evaluating the feasibility of this endeavor, the U.S. Geological Survey developed an updated one-dimensional hydraulic model of the Kootenai River in Idaho between river miles (RMs) 105.6 and 171.9 to characterize the current hydraulic conditions. A previously calibrated model of the study area, based on channel geometry data collected during 2002 and 2003, was the basis for this updated model. New high-resolution bathymetric surveys conducted in the study reach between RMs 138 and 161.4 provided additional detail of channel morphology. A light detection and ranging (LIDAR) survey was flown in the Kootenai River valley in 2005 between RMs 105.6 and 159.5 to characterize the floodplain topography. Six temporary gaging stations installed in 2006-08 between RMs 154.1 and 161.2, combined with five permanent gaging stations in the study reach, provided discharge and water-surface elevations for model calibration and verification. Measured discharges ranging from about 4,800 to 63,000 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) were simulated for calibration events, and calibrated water-surface elevations ranged from about 1,745 to 1,820 feet (ft) throughout the extent of the model. Calibration was considered acceptable when the simulated and measured water-surface elevations at gaging stations differed by less than (+/-)0.15 ft. Model verification consisted of simulating 10 additional events with measured discharges ranging from about 4,900 to 52,000 ft3/s, and comparing simulated and measured water-surface elevations at gaging stations. Average water-surface-elevation error in the verification simulations was 0.05 ft, with the error ranging from -1.17 to 0.94 ft over the range of events and gaging stations. Additional verification included a graphical comparison of measured average velocities that range from 1.0 to 6.2 feet per second to simulated velocities at four sites within the study reach for measured discharges ranging from about 7,400 to 46,600 ft3/s. The availability of high-resolution bathymetric and LIDAR data, along with the additional gaging stations in the study reach, allowed for more detail to be added to the model and a more thorough calibration, sensitivity, and verification analysis to be conducted. Model resolution and performance is most improved between RMs 140 and 160, which includes the 18.3-mile reach of the Kootenai River white sturgeon critical habitat.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Updated one-dimensional hydraulic model of the Kootenai River, Idaho-A supplement to Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5110