Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center

Aquatic Ecosystems & Water

Native fish and amphibian populations have declined drastically throughout North America over the past century as a consequence of habitat degradation and nonnative species introductions. Although management actions have improved the probability of persistence of the these taxa in some areas, recent invasions of nonnative species (e.g., lake trout, rainbow trout, New Zealand mud snails, American bullfrogs, and Northern pike) present challenges to the persistence of native species. NOROCK works closely with managers to understand the most pressing management issues and to develop research that supports their efforts.

Filter Total Items: 34
Date published: November 12, 2020
Status: Active

Environmental DNA (eDNA): Combining Technology and Biology to Detect Aquatic Invasive Species and Pathogens

Using DNA, USGS researchers are able to detect the presence of invasive species in aquatic ecosystems. The DNA they use is literally floating around in the environment and is called environmental DNA (eDNA) and is a powerful tool for the early detection of invasive species and pathogens, which can cause serious ecological and economic damage. USGS researchers are also combining the use of eDNA...

Date published: July 19, 2019
Status: Active

Using Robots in the River: Biosurveillance at USGS streamgages

For more than a decade, researchers around the world have shown that sampling a water body and analyzing for DNA (a method known as eDNA) is an effective method to detect an organism in the water. The challenge is that finding organisms that are not very abundant requires a lot of samples to locate this needle in a haystack.  Enter the "lab in a can", the water quality sampling and processing...

Date published: October 17, 2018
Status: Active

Integrated Ecohydrological Science in the Northern Rocky Mountains — the variability of water availability and the effects on ecosystems

Our primary goal is to better understand and characterize how stream environments and the ecosystems they support are influenced by climate change and drought in the Northern Rocky Mountains.

Date published: March 27, 2018
Status: Active

Multi-century perspectives on current and future streamflow in the Missouri River Basin

The Missouri River system is the life-blood of the American Midwest providing water resources that drive agriculture, industry, hydroelectric power generation, and ecosystems. However, the Missouri River Basin (MRB) (Figure 1) is the only major river in the western U.S. for which hydrologic reconstructions from tree rings have not been generated in any systematic way. This knowledge gap is...

Date published: January 4, 2018
Status: Active

Experimental suppression of invasive lake trout: Implications for conservation of imperiled bull trout in Glacier National Park

After 14,000 years of dominance, Glacier National Park’s (GNP) greatest native aquatic predator is at high risk of extirpation (local extinction) in several lakes on the western slopes of the Continental Divide. The decline of threatened bull trout in GNP is directly attributed to the invasion and establishment of nonnative lake trout, which consistently displace bull trout in systems where...

Date published: February 2, 2017
Status: Active

Western Waters Invasive Species and Disease Research Program

Researchers at the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center's Western Waters Invasive Species and Disease Research Program work extensively with federal, state, tribal, regional, and local partners to deliver science to improve early detection and prevention of invasive species and disease; understand complex interactions that promote invasive species and disease, and their impacts (and...

Date published: November 18, 2016

Wetland State-and-Transition Model Project

The Wetland STM project is creating a state-and-transition model to inform management of semi-permanently flooded wetlands in the Intermountain West and western Prairie Pothole Region, as well as designing a monitoring scheme to allow determination of current wetland condition.

Contacts: Kathi Irvine, Ph.D., Jeff Warren
Date published: May 6, 2016
Status: Active

Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative: Rocky Mountain Region

The Rocky Mountain Region of Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) encompasses Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Two USGS Science Centers initiate and develop ARMI projects in this region. Investigations at NOROCK are headed by Dr. Blake Hossack. Investigations at the Fort Collins Science Center (FORT), Colorado, are headed by Dr. Erin Muths. The ARMI program is based...

Date published: April 13, 2016
Status: Active

Yellowstone Lake Acoustic Biotelemetry Project Home Page

Fishery biologists and managers are increasingly consumed with the recovery and restoration of native trout and salmon throughout the western United States. These fish historically inhabited a variety of freshwater habitats, but have declined due to habitat degradation, fragmentation and introduction of nonnative species. Introduced fishes constitute a major threat to the persistence of native...

Date published: April 13, 2016

Predicting Effects of Climate Change on Native Fishes in Northern Great Plains Streams

The Northern Great Plains of North America are a region of profound global importance because organisms that live in these semi-arid prairie environments have developed a unique ability to live through conditions of extreme heat, cold, floods, and drought. Prairie streams are essential components of these ecosystems because they provide critical “green lines” of habitat for both aquatic and...

Date published: April 13, 2016

Estimating Future Streamflow in Eastern Montana Using the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System and the RegCM3 Regional Climate Model

Streams in the Northern Great Plains provide critical “green lines” of habitat for aquatic and terrestrial wildlife. However, changes in water quantity associated with global climate change may transform some prairie streams from essential refuges to habitats no longer capable of supporting fishes. Although studies have examined climate change effects on larger river basins across the United...

Date published: April 13, 2016

Bob Gresswell's Past Projects

Bob Gresswell's Past Projects