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Kootenai River Valley, northern Idaho
Credit & Copyright: Dr. Bruce G.
Explanation: Mouse over the photo above, and see where this river approximately used to flow. Now, the river is bound to its current course by levees, railroad beds, floodwalls, and other constraints.
We are overlooking the beautiful Kootenai River Valley in the northern Idaho panhandle. This is a visual lesson about how river floodplains are typically used for the ecosystem and geographic services they provide.
This is where the river used to naturally flood its banks, and where stands of black cottonwood trees and copses of willows and other riparian shrubs flourished, some of which can still be seen in the remaining river islands and shorelines.
In seeking a balance of use and conservation, some of the existing and historic floodplain area could be restored to seasonal wetlands. This where much of the natural biological diversity of the valley resides.
Next week's picture: Swallow in a Hole
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Bruce G. Marcot, Tom Bruce
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