Aquatics biologist Clint Muhlfeld has just published a paper showing a correlation between climate change and hybridization of cutthroat and non-native rainbow trout . . .
In his published research, aquatics biologist Clint Muhlfeld has detailed the plight of an obscure stonefly endemic to Glacier National Park’s high-elevation streams and revealed how a trout’s ear bone contains a geochemical diary of its liquid migrations.
But his most recent study will appeal to his largest audience yet, not only by virtue of the scope of the revelation, but also the size of the platform.
Muhlfeld, an aquatic ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Glacier Park field office, is the project leader of a study that links the rapid hybridization between a native Montana trout species and an invasive species in the Flathead River system to climate change.
Read more . . .
Your friendly web-slinger was away on an extended road trip, so we’re playing catch-up. Here’s the first clutch of articles about significant events over the past couple of weeks . . .
Elk River poisoned by coal mining – Dr. Ric Hauer of the Flathead Lake Biological Station of the University of Montana issued a March 2, 2013 study comparing water quality in the Elk and neighbouring Flathead River Basins. Commissioned by Glacier National Park, the study found nitrogen levels at 1,000 times the background rate, sulphate levels at 40-50 times the background rate and selenium levels at 7-10 times background rate (p.2). The researchers tested above and below mines and used the pristine water quality of the nearby Flathead River to determine background levels and ascertain what aquatic life would normally be present in the Elk River were it not so polluted. Continue reading . . .
FWP: Montana’s wolf population drops 4 percent – At least 625 wolves inhabited Montana at the end of 2012, a 4 percent population drop compared to a 15 percent increase the year before, according to state wildlife managers. The minimum wolf count is the number of wolves actually verified by FWP wolf specialists. The latest population estimate came while Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks comples the federally required annual wolf conservation and management report. The report is expected to be available online by April 12. Continue reading . . .
Agency to target fish in five creeks – Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will continue efforts to suppress rainbow trout and hybrid trout populations in the upper Flathead River system. Region One Supervisor Jim Satterfield signed a finding of no significant impact for the work Monday. That basically approves plans to continue removing hybrids and rainbows from the mouths and channels of Abbot, Sekokini, Rabe, Ivy and Third creeks in the main stem Flathead and North Flathead rivers. Continue reading . . .
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on their current Flathead River Hybrid Trout Suppression Project . . .
As part of ongoing efforts to maintain populations of native westslope cutthroat trout, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is proposing to continue removing hybrid and rainbow trout from the Flathead River drainage.
The public has until March 8 to comment on the Flathead River hybrid trout suppression project’s environmental assessment draft, released earlier this month for a 30-day public review. The project could get underway a week later on March 15, according to an anticipated schedule.
Continue reading . . .
Related reading: Flathead River Hybrid Trout Suppression Project
Sally Mauk, news director at KUFM, Montana Public Radio, runs a twice-monthly column in the Missoulian. Her most recent discusses the world-wide spread of rainbow trout from its native home on the Pacific Rim. I’ve tossed it in here because it is pretty interesting and because there’s a North Fork connection.
Here’s an excerpt from the North Fork reference . . .
And then there’s the Frankenstein effect. All this mucking with nature has created fish hybrids, especially in waters where rainbow and westslope cutthroat trout have interbred. Halverson was fishing once in the North Fork of the Flathead, where it’s catch-and-release only for westslope cutthroat, when he caught a trout that was so hybridized, he was stumped.
Read the entire article . . .