Water Level Management
Kootenai NWR has a matrix of wetlands all interconnected with water control structures to manipulate water levels for the purpose of providing optimal habitat and food resources for wildlife. Following Refuge establishment, wetland units were created through the contstruction of water delivery systems, cross diking and water control structures. There are currently 20 impoundments filled via five diversions from four primary sources and managed to meet habitat objectives for wetland-dependent wildlife by manipulation over numberous water control structures.
Appropriate water depths are important for effective waterfowl management. Management of seasonal wetlands is valuable for producing emergent wetland vegetation that is a primary food resource for wintering waterfowl. These wetlands are generally slowly drawn down through the spring and summer, with the intent of creating moist soil areas where the seeds of annual emergent plants, such as millet and smartweed, can germinate. Once these plants are mature, the basins are reflooded. Water depths of 2-10 inches are optimal for foraging by dabblers, allowing them access to seed heads.