Cover Stars: Graylings from Fish Technology Center Grace the Cover of MSU Magazine

(Mountains and Minds photo: Montana State University) - Grayling fish on cover
(Mountains and Minds photo: Montana State University)

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.

Just Keep Swimming: Sturgeon Swimming Research Published in Northwest Science

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 Science 2018 92 (1), 61-71.

Northwest Science to Publish Sturgeon Swimming Research

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 Blank of 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.

Fish Passage Research Highlighted at National and International Forums

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.