Veterans work with Landscape Conservation Cooperatives to study sensitive native fish populations

Land changes have greatly altered the connectivity of riparian areas and present significant challenges to the health of our nation’s fish communities. The effects of aquatic barriers in the form of culverts, irrigation, diversions and dams can also be exacerbated by climate change impacts and other landscape stressors which enhance poor habitat conditions for fish.

Sauger Swimming

Researchers observe sauger swimming capabilities in this experimental flume to better understand how these native fish fair in various aquatic conditions.  Photo credit: USFWS

Understanding how to better manage aquatic systems is critical to maintaining healthy populations. This is exactly why cutting-edge fish passage research is being headed up by a partnership between the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University (MSU) and the Bozeman Fish Technology Center (BFTC) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service).

This research is especially critical as it may have important implications for imperiled species including the pallid sturgeon, a federally endangered species, and the sauger, which is a species of concern in Montana, as well as native fish populations in general. A diverse group of dedicated experts and research assistants are involved in this study including two veterans with unique outlooks on fish and wildlife conservation.