The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho contacted GBI to construct a new hatchery facility in Bonners Ferry. It was designed to raise both white sturgeon and fresh water burbot. This is the first known burbot hatchery to have ever been constructed in the US.
GBI worked with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho for nearly a year prior to beginning this project. We assisted in reviewing design and construction elements, discussed budgeting, and provided numerous value engineering ideas.
Construction of the facility included a new 35,000 square foot hatchery building, 7,200 square foot vehicle storage building, and river water influent and effluent structures. Additionally, a turbine booster pump station, two river intake structures at the Moyie and Kootenai rivers, and two river water pump stations at each intake location were required. The Moyie River pump station was constructed during winter months at low water in order to minimize dewatering costs, and work continued throughout the project during winter cold snaps to stay on schedule.
GBI was also responsible for providing two crew quarter residences, backup power generators, and all associated underground utilities, fencing and landscaping. The project took one and a half year to complete.
The new Kootenai River Burbot fishery opened—on time—to anglers on January 1st of 2019. It will introduce approximately 125,000 burbots into the river each year. This project enjoyed success due to the team approach throughout construction. Consistent interaction between the owner, engineers, and contractors allowed team members to recognize potential issues early and resolve them before negatively affecting the project.
The fish’s spectacular rebound stems from a collaborative restoration effort by fisheries, communities, academics and state officials, along with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and the Bonneville Power Administration. As a result, a decade-and-a-half after facing extinction, “the Leopards of the Kootenai” are making a roaring comeback.