BLACK BUTTE MINE AQUATIC ASSESSMENTS (TINTINA RESOURCES)
MBS with our collaborators, Rhithron (Periphyton) and Peter Brown, Ph.D (Fish), will continue to collect and analyze baseline aquatic assessment data in 2019, as we did for their initial assessments in 2014-2018. See 2 year report: http://www.tintinaresources.com/ or neat video: https://vimeo.com/347360186
In addition to the aquatic communities previously evaluated, this year we collected rocky mountain sculpin for tissue analysis of baseline metals (Energy Laboratories) and performed redd counts in the spring and fall. MBS's Aquatic Ecologist has provided scientifically-robust, biological 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).
MISSOURI RIVER BASELINE MACROINVERTEBRATE STUDY, UPPER MISSOURI WATERSHED ALLIANCE (UMOWA)
UMOWA contracted with MBS's Aquatic Ecologist in 2015 to began the Missouri River Baseline Monitoring program and has continued this study in 2019, including a flushing flow component. This study was initiated to fill the need of establishing baseline monitoring stations, especially for benthic macroinvertebrates and water chemistry in the Blue Ribbon section of the Missouri River between Wolf Creek and Cascade. This study will allow us to document and understand the shifting insect communities, including explosions of scuds and isopods, decreased caddisfly hatches and missing cohorts of BWO mayflies. Braden Lewis of Headhunters (a serious bug guy) has been an integral collaborator on this project. For the 2016 Report: http://www.umowa.org/ under Latest News or the Independent Record Report: Or check out Braden's Headhunters blog:
WESTERN PEARLSHELL MUSSEL POPULATION ASSESSMENTS, LIFE HISTORY AND CONSERVATION ACTIONS IN WESTERN MT (MTFWP, MT AFS, MTNHP, Turner)
MBS's Aquatic Ecologist has been tracking and reporting on mussel populations in MT since 2004. The western pearlshell mussel (WEPE), Margaritifera falcata has experienced significant statewide range reductions in the last 100 years and is now known from ~85 populations, of which, only ~20 are expected to be viable 100 years from now. Short-term trend analysis has shown significant losses of WEPE populations in the last decade (see figure). In 2019, we (with MSU gradute student and Michelle Anderson, UM Western) have investigated timing of reproduction and host-fish relationships, with the future use of propagating juvenile pearlshells from fish hosts with conservation implications of stocking these juveniles. (See reports: http://mtnhp.org/Reports.asp?key=1) and Pacific Standard News Article
Western Pearlshell mussel declines as percent loss of streams in the watershed (maroon is 100% loss).
A healthy Western Pearlshell mussel population in the Yaak River.
Backpack electrofishing Sheep Creek, a control site in the Tintina Mine Sheep Creek study
Montana Biological Survey and Stag Benthics, SP
Checking westslope cutthroat trout gills for "baby" mussels in Cherry Creek on the Flying D Ranch.
Taking a Hess sample in the Missouri River above Prickly Pear Creek, Wolf Creek Bridge in background.