This Master’s Degree Project assesses the policy planning framework for mitigation and monitoring of fish and wildlife impacts resulting from the impoundment of Lake Koocanusa reservoir by the Libby Dan project on the Kootenai River. Complex ecosystemic changes were the result of the sudden change from a riverine habitat to a lacustrine environment, exascerbated by the extreme annual drawdowns to which the reservoir is subject. Further complicating the issue is the fact that the upper reaches of the reservoir ate in Canada, while the lower portion and the dam are in the US. A comparison of stated or recommended objectives of monitoring and mitigration programmes to those followed through shows that agencies in neither country were fully responsive. In Canada, monies so far spent by the BC Environment Ministry ($800,000) have been devoted to identifying impacts, while compensation proposals for both fisheries and wildlife habitat losses remain in draft form. In the US, $4,000,000 has been spent by the Corps of Engineers on the development of a new fish hatchery, and forest treatment by the US Forest Service and Montana Fish and Game has resulted in 34% net forage replacement for wildlife. The lack of hard and fast policy planning may be attributed to a) low public profile creating little political resolve, and b) the absence of a framework to facilitate interagency and international co-operation on environmental concerns. This report recommends the continuation of ongoing environmental programmes, the early adoption in BC of the compensation proposals, and the institutionalization of co-ordinated action by environmentally-mandated agencies in both countries. One hopes that the entire Columbia-Kootenay watershed will eventually be viewed by planning agencies as an integral, albeit international, ecosystem.
Bibliography: p. 111-115.