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Experimental Assessment of Swimming Capabilities of Selected Trout Species for Barrier Assessment - UTC

Started: July, 2009 Ended: June, 2011 Project ID #4W2640 Status: Completed


The primary objective of this research is to determine scientifically valid, volitional swimming abilities of westslope cutthroat trout and rainbow trout that reside in the Rockies Ecosystem.


Native species conservation is an integral part of many private, state and federal programs. Part of these conservation strategies involves the construction of barriers that purposely isolate native species and protect them from nuisance fish species, other issues involve the assessment of hydraulic structures such as road-stream crossings. In Montana and other parts of the West, barriers are used to protect populations of native trout from invasive species. Common physical barriers include leap and velocity barriers, both of which require knowledge of fish locomotion for proper design. Velocity barriers, in particular, require detailed knowledge of both swimming speed and, as important but often neglected, times to exhaustion. Contemporary synthesis reports and barrier assessment and design tools have identified a diverse collection of previous research where the swimming capabilities of fish were either a direct or anecdotal result of the project. One pitfall of a well organized and packaged collection of research results is that when presented in this manner all the results seem to carry equal validity and weight. In reality, some of the information noted in assessment tools or other synthesis reports is very anecdotal or sparse and should be used with caution (or not used at all). On the other hand, other information noted comes from very inclusive, transferrable, and well designed experiments and should be used with confidence. The dilemma is that for some cold water fish species important to Montana and the West, the literature documenting fish swimming capabilities is sparse and anecdotal, enough so to cast doubt on the use of such data for design or analysis of systems where fish mobility is at question. This effort is jointly sponsored by the Research and Innovative Technologies Administration of the USDOT; the Bozeman Fish Technology Center of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (BFTC-USFWS); Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; and Turner Enterprises, Inc. This project represents the portion sponsored by the Research and Innovative Technologies Administration of the USDOT.


Sponsors & Partners

  • Research and Innovation Technology Administration (RITA) Sponsor

Part of: Road Ecology, Aquatics, WTI-2

Project Tagged In: fish passage, fish habitats

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