Researchers in Montana have a new tool for designing fish passage structures that meet the needs of both fish and agricultural producers. A feature article by the MSU News Service highlights a recently completed artificial waterway at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fish Technology Center on the outskirts of Bozeman, which researchers can use to test the designs of small fish passage structures that allow grayling and other species to overcome irrigation structures that might otherwise hinder their seasonal movements.
The state-of-the-art upgrade will facilitate ongoing research by Montana State University’s Fish Passage and Ecohydraulics group, who have collaborated for more than a decade. The group includes researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MSU’s Departments of Ecology and Civil Engineering, and WTI. WTI Road Ecologist Matt Blank has been on the team since its inception, and he is currently one of the team members on a new project to redesign fishways to use less water. As he stated in the news article, “”If we can get the fish to swim through less water, that’s a win. We want to find solutions that benefit not only the fish but the irrigators who use the river, and this study is exploring how to do that.” More information about current and past research is available on the MSU Fish Passage and Ecohydraulics group webpage, and on WTI’s project webpages (Fish Passage Research and Fish Passage Research Phase 2).
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
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.