Project Description

Project sponsors are proposing to restore floodplain connectivity to the Kootenai River historic floodplain within the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge by breaching levees, raising refuge and county roads, replacing water control structures, and enhancing 830 acres of riparian riparian
Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

Learn more about riparian
and wetland habitats. 

Project Location

Kootenai NWR is 5 miles east of Bonners Ferry, Idaho in Boundary County.

Project Map


Current management focuses on providing breeding, foraging, and roosting habitat for migratory and breeding birds with specific goals outlined within the Comprehensive Conservation Plan. These goals include:


  • Provide, manage, and enhance a diverse assemblage of grassland, wetland, and riparian habitats for foraging and nesting migratory waterfowl and other wildlife characteristic of the Kootenai River Valley

Fish & Wildlife

  • Protect, maintain, and where feasible restore habitats on the Refuge to benefit native fishes, migratory waterfowl and other wildlife species


  • Provide high-quality wildlife dependent recreational opportunities for all ages and abilities that enhances the users’ appreciation for and understanding of the Refuge’s and the Kootenai River Valley’s natural resources

Proposed Project Benefits

  • Increase use by migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, and water birds of restored floodplain habitat
  • Increase use of native fishes within floodplain habitat
  • Improved visitor safety, use, and satisfaction

Environmental Review

To understand the potential environmental impacts of this proposal, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) may prepare an environmental assessment (EA) following the procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). If BPA determines that an EA should be prepared, the EA will analyze BPA’s proposed funding for the KNWR Floodplain Reconnection Project, as well as a no-action alternative in which BPA would not fund the project and it would not be implemented. The EA would also describe anticipated impacts to natural and human resources and would identify mitigation measures to help avoid or minimize impacts. During this process, BPA will work with landowners, tribes, federal, state, and local agencies, and interest groups.  The USFWS would cooperate in the preparation of the EA to support its NEPA decision for proposed modifications to refuge management.

Environmental Review Schedule

Scoping Comment PeriodApril 16-May 16, 2024
Public Scoping MeetingApril 30, 2024
EA DeterminationSummer 2024

Draft EA available for Public Comment

(if warranted)

Summer 2024
Final EA (if warranted)Fall 2024
Finding of No Significant Impact (if warranted)Fall 2024
If decision to build, construction startSummer 2025

BPA is requesting public scoping comments to help determine the issues that should be addressed in the environmental review. You may send us your comments so they may be considered as we analyze the issues or attend an informal, open-house meeting where we will answer questions and accept comments. 

Public Meeting

The meeting will be held on:  

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 
6 – 8 p.m. 
County Annex/Parole Building 
6566 Main Street 
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805

How To Comment

Please send your comments by May 16, 2024 so they may be considered in the environmental review. When commenting, refer to the full project name. All comments will be posted on the BPA comment website. There are several ways to comment: 



Bonneville Power Administration                 
Public Affairs – DKE-7             
P.O. Box 14428                 
Portland, OR 97291-4428 
Toll-Free: 800-622-4519 
Fax: 503-230-4019

Contact Information

For environmental information, contact: 

Ted Gresh     
Senior Environmental Protection Specialist     
Bonneville Power Administration – ECF-4 
PO Box 3621, Portland, Oregon 97208-3621 
Toll-free: 800-622-4519 
Direct line: 503-230-5756 

For Project and Refuge Information, contact:

Shannon Ehlers
Refuge Manager
Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge
Phone: 208-267-3888


Contact Information


Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge Floodplain Reconnection Project

Draft map for the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge Floodplain Reconnection Project

Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge Floodplain Reconnection Project

Slides from the first Open House Meeting hosted by the Bonneville Power Administration and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho at the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge.


Nestled beside the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho, this 2,774 acre refuge provides diverse habitats for a large variety of wildlife.
Nestled beside the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho, this 2,774 acre refuge provides diverse habitats for a large variety of wildlife. Despite its relatively small size a wide variety of habitat types can be found on the refuge which plays an important role in the large number of wildlife...