2019 FOCAL PROJECTS
SWG FUNDED WESTERN PEARLSHELL MUSSEL (WEPE) LIFE HISTORY AND POPULATION VIABILITY STUDY (MSU, MFWP, UMW & USFWS)
MBS teamed with MFWP, MSU Fisheries CO-OP and Univ. of MT Western faculty in 2019 to achieve a 5 watershed research study evaluating the reproductive success and failures of WEPE. We believe WEPE populations are persisiting because of robust Our WEPE Research Hypotheses H2: Gravidity and Conglutinate Release and H3: Host Fish Density (CPUE) is Positively Correlated with WEPE Viability. By shocking fish and checking gills for baby mussels at 25 WEPE populations in all viability classes, our initial results show that host fish densities are positively correlated with viable WEPE pop.--sites with low trout numbers are not recruiting new mussels. Brook trout work as host fish, but native fish (cutthroats) work better
BLACK BUTTE MINE AQUATIC MONITORING PLAN (SANDFIRE RESOURCES BLACK BUTTE COPPER PROJECT)
MBS with our collaborators, Rhithron (Periphyton), Energy Laboratories (fish tissue metals analysis & CHL-a), and Peter Brown, Ph.D (Fish), continue to collect and analyze fisheries/aquatic assessment data under the BBC Aquatic Monitoring Plan (AMP) in 2019, as we did from 2014-2018. See 3 year summary report: http://www.tintinaresources.com/ In addition to the aquatic communities previously evaluated, the past 4 years we have collected rocky mountain sculpin for and performed spawning redd counts in the fall. MBS's Aquatic Ecologist has provided scientifically-robust, data for other controversial projects, including Otter Creek Coal Tracts, Spring Creek/Big Metal Coal Mine Expansion, Absoluka Mine and Coal Bed Natural Gas monitoring in Wyoming and Montana (see Past Projects).
O'DELL CREEK EFFECTIVENESS MONITORING PROJECT (Northwestern Energy:NWE & River Design Group: RDG)
O’Dell Spring Creek on the Longhorn and Granger Ranches in the Madison River Watershed has undergone significant channel restoration activities over the past ~15 years (RDG). While fisheries and wetlands have been evaluated since restoration, aquatic insects have not. In 2017 NWE began the Odell Macroinvertebrate Monitoring program. This is the 3rd year of the study and our results show that macroinvertebrate community health and stream temperatures have improved significantly at the newly restored reaches, and the older restoration reaches are beginning to closely resemble the control site. New Zealand Mudsnails are expanding populations out from a private fishing access area.
Continued Projects From 2018:
MISSOURI AND MADISON RIVER LONG-TERM MACROINVERTEBRATE MONITORING STUDY, NORTHWESTERN ENERGY (NWE)
CLARK FORK RIVER LONG-TERM MACROINVERTEBRATE MONITORING STUDY, EPA-ASARCO-CH2M
Montana Biological Survey and Stag Benthics, SP