Graduate students at Montana State University had a great opportunity to participate in aquatics field research this summer, which was captured in feature article by the Montana State University (MSU) News Service. “MSU engineers, ecologists seek to improve fish passage on Yellowstone River” profiles grad students Haley Tupin and Ian Anderson, who gathered data at the Huntley Irrigation project on the Yellowstone River. The article includes numerous photos of the pair at work on the river and with the fish they studied.
The research project, conducted for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, is investigating the effectiveness of a fish bypass channel that was constructed for the Huntley Irrigation Project. The data collected this summer will help determine if fish are using the bypass to navigate around the dam. WTI Research Scientist Matt Blank is a co-PI on the research project and serves on Haley Tupin’s graduate committee.
WTI, the MSU College of Engineering, and the Bozeman Fish Technology Center (BFTC) will continue their partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to study fish passage and the barriers that limit fish movements. Under a 5-year cooperative agreement, USFWS will sponsor a new phase of fish passage research projects, using the open channel flumes and swim chambers at BFTC as well as the hydraulics lab and computational/modeling facilities at MSU’s Department of Civil Engineering. The purpose of the research program is to characterize fish swimming performance and behavior, to enhance the design and operation of fish passages, and to develop new methods that improve landscape connectivity for fish and other aquatic organisms. The program also offers many hands-on research opportunities – in both labs and field sites – for undergraduate and graduate students. Read more about this partnership program on the Fish Passage and Ecohydraulics Research Group webpage.
Installing effective fish passage structures that provide connectivity for Arctic grayling is a promising conservation strategy for imperiled populations. The Journal of Ecohydraulics has published a study by Road Ecology researcher Matt Blank and several colleagues, which examined the swimming behavior of grayling from Montana in an open-channel flume. The results “provide some of the first published information on swimming abilities of grayling from the Missouri River basin.”
The research is a collaboration among WTI, the MSU Department of Civil Engineering, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and Wild Rivers Consulting, and one of several projects the partners have conducted together at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center. More information about grayling research is available on the WTI website, and more information about the collaborative research program is available on the MSU Fish Passage webpage.
Citation: David R. Dockery, Erin Ryan, Kevin M. Kappenman & Matt Blank (2019): Swimming performance of Arctic grayling (Thymallusarcticus Pallas) in an open-channel flume, Journal of Ecohydraulics, DOI: 10.1080/24705357.2019.1599306
Northwest Science has published the journal article “Swimming Capabilities of Artic Grayling.” The article, authored by Joel Cahoon, Audrey Jones, and Kathryn Plymesser of MSU’s Civil Engineering Department; Kevin Kappenman and Erin Ryan of the US Fish and Wildlife Service; and Matt Blank of WTI highlights research to study the swimming ability of arctic grayling and to examine the effect of repeated trials using the same fish. The research is a collaboration among WTI, the MSU Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and one of several projects the partners have conducted together at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center. More information about the sturgeon project is available on the WTI website, and more information about the collaborative research program is available on the MSU Fish Passage webpage.
Citation: Joel Cahoon, Kevin Kappenman, Erin Ryan, Audrey Jones, Kathryn Plymesser and Matt Blank. “Swimming Capabilities of Arctic Grayling,” Northwest Science 92(3), (1 October 2018). https://doi.org/10.3955/046.092.0309
Mountains and Minds is Montana State University’s premier print publication for showcasing the institution’s people, events, and accomplishments. Published only twice a year, Mountains and Minds selected some familiar young fish for the new edition’s coveted cover photo: young grayling from the Bozeman Fish Technology Center (BFTC), raised for the fish passage research conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Montana State University (MSU) Department of Ecology, the MSU Department of Civil Engineering, and WTI.
In addition to the cover photo, the magazine includes a 10-page feature story (and stunning photo spread!) describing the 15 years of research conducted by these partners to better understand how native fish species move through waterways and how to improve fish passage through their habitats. WTI Research Scientist Matt Blank is interviewed about his early culvert research as well as his efforts with the partners to build the artificial flume at BFTC for fish swimming studies. Graduate students Ben Triano and Nolan Platt discuss their field work in the Big Hole River studying grayling in their native environment.
WTI Newswire will provide a link to the article when this issue is available online. Details about the grayling research are available on the WTI website; more information about the collaborative research program is available on the MSU Fish Passage webpage.
A team of Montana-based fish passage researchers continue to produce notable results using the outdoor experimental flume at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center. Northwest Science has published the journal article “Sprint Swimming Performance of Shovelnose Sturgeon in an Open-Channel Flume.” The article, authored by Luke Holmquist of MSU’s Department of Ecology, Kevin Kappenman of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Matt Blank of WTI, and Matt Schultz highlights research to study the swimming abilities of wild shovelnose sturgeon in fish passage structures. The results indicate that their swimming abilities have been underestimated in the past. These findings will help improve future designs of fish passage structures and facilitate efforts to prevent habitat fragmentation for this species.
The research is a collaboration among WTI, the MSU Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and one of several projects the partners have conducted together. More information about the sturgeon project is available on the project page and more information about the collaborative research program is available on the MSU Fish Passage webpage.
Citation: Luke Holmquist, Kevin Kappenman, Matt D. Blank, and Matt Schultz. Sprint Swimming Performance of Shovelnose Sturgeon in an Open-Channel Flume. Northwest Science2018 92 (1), 61-71.
Fish passage research by a Bozeman-based team will soon be published in Northwest Science. The journal has accepted “Sprint Swimming Performance of Shovelnose Sturgeon in an Open-Channel Flume,” authored by Luke Holmquist of MSU’s Department of Ecology, Kevin Kappenman of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Matt Blankof WTI, and Matt Schultz. The article describes research in an outdoor experimental flume at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center. The sprint velocities from the laboratory study indicate that the swimming capability of shovelnose sturgeon has been previously underestimated. The results of this study provide data that might support design and analysis of fish passage projects for shovelnose sturgeon and other sturgeon species. For more information about fish passage research, visit the project page.
WTI Research Scientist Matt Blank has been on the road this spring, presenting findings of fish passage research at several leading conferences. Along with his colleagues from the MSU Ecohydraulics Research Group and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, he was invited to speak at both the Annual Meeting of the Western Division of the American Fisheries in May, and at the International Conference on Engineering and Ecohydrology for Fish Passage in June. Topics for these presentations included:
· A Baseline Swimming Assessment for Arctic Grayling: Characterizing the Volitional Swimming Performance of Arctic Grayling to Inform Passage Studies
· Arctic Grayling and Denil Fishways: A Study to Determine How Water Depth Affects Passage Success of Arctic Grayling through Denil Fishways
· Swimming Performance of Sauger in Relation to Fish Passage
The research team conducts studies at MSU, at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center, and in the field. Their studies explore how irrigation installations, flow management structures, and other infrastructure serve to prevent, limit, and allow successful fish passage for various species. The findings can inform design improvements and conservation efforts for species of concern.