Fish & Wildlife

In 1989, the Kootenai Tribe, with funding from the Bonneville Power Administration, initiated a conservation aquaculture program to prevent the extinction of Kootenai River white sturgeon. The Kootenai strugeon, a unique stock that has been seperated from other Columbia river white sutrgeon stocks since the last glacial ice age, was listed as endangered in 1994 under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The Tribe, in coordination with state and federal agencies, has been integrally involved in the recovery effort as a co-manager of the Kootenai River System. The Tribe's work to conserve natural resources does not end with Kootenai sturgeon.

The Tribe recognizes the connection of all resources within the Web of Life and acknowledges that preservation of the Tribe and the complex ecosystems upon which we all depend relies on protecting resources in a holistic manner. Other Tribal projects include actions to identify factors that are limiting native resident fish and wildlife, and projects to address those factors through ecosystem-based restoration actions. Because the entire ecosystem has been altered for decades, much has been lost; however, the Tribe looks to the future with the hope that self-sustaining populations of native fish and wildlife may once again inhabit the Kootenai watershed in abundance.

Kootenai River Habitat Restoration Program

The Kootenai River Habitat Restoration Program is large-scale ecosystem-based river habitat restoration effort that will be implemented over a period of 10 to 15 years across a 55-mile reach of the Kootenai River in north Idaho. Kootenai Tribal elders have passed down the history of the beginning of time. That history tells that the Kootenai people were created by Quilxka Nupika, the supreme being, and placed on earth to keep the Creator Spirit’s Covenant—to guard and keep the land forever.

Department Contacts

Shawn Young, Fish and Wildlife Director