COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says high flows in the Kootenai River in northern Idaho could help endangered white sturgeon reach their spawning grounds without the agency having to release water over Libby Dam in Montana.
The agency last year spilled water over the dam in late spring to determine if extra flows help sturgeon move upstream of Bonners Ferry to spawning habitat.
This year the snowpack in the region is 80 percent above average.
Corps officials tell The Spokesman-Review they plan to keep the river at or near its flood stage elevation through June. They say that’s more water than was planned for the spill test.
Sturgeon can reach 19 feet long and top 1,000 pounds, but have not reproduced since 1974, when the Libby Dam was built.
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