ABSOLUKA COAL MINE AQUATIC AND AMPHIBIAN ASSESSMENTS 2014-2015 (WESTMORLAND RESOURCES)
Westmorland’s Absoluka Coal Mine near Sarpy, Montana is currently undergoing plans for expansion to the north and east of the original existing facility. Baseline data on the condition of the aquatic ecosystems potentially affected by this expansion prior to its development (pre-impact) is essential to determine what effects the mine might have on the fish and wildlife in, and downstream of, the newly affected area (post-impact). MBS's Aquatic Ecologist performed seasonal habitat assessments, herpotofauna, macroinvertebrate and fish surveys seasonally over two years to establish this pre-impact characterization.
OTTER CREEK COAL TRACTS AQUATIC ASSESSMENTS 2011-2013 (ARCH COAL)
MBS's Aquatic Ecologist was the lead researcher providing baseline biological assessments and integrity analysis of fish, macroinvertebrates, and herpetofauna in the Otter Creek Coal Tracts area of southeast MT. Stream reaches were established in conjunction with surface water quality sites and monitored seasonally from Spring 2011 to evaluate spatial and temporal patterns of aquatic communities using EMAP and MTDEQ protocols prior to Otter Creek mine operations.
COAL BED NATURAL GAS (CBNG) AQUATIC COMMUNITY MONITORING IN THE POWDER RIVER BASIN (MT/WY BLM, USGS, WY DEQ)
MBS's Aquatic Ecologist began initial baseline surveys in this unique region of SW MT in 2005, and has been monitoring the fish and aquatic insect communities since then, even taking the sampling duties over from the USGS monitoring crew in 2012. The aquatic communities have suffered significant declines during the height of CBNG production, but since 2011, have been recovering, in both the diversity and sensitivity of fish species, including the MT SOC sturgeon chub. Unfortunately, the rare and sensitive mayflies of the benthic insect community occupying this aquatic system had not yet recovered (as of the 2013 report). (See earlier reports: http://mtnhp.org/Reports.asp?key=1)
Montana Biological Survey and Stag Benthics, SP