Year of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department or School/College
Environmental Studies Program
Vicki J. Watson
Len Broberg, George Furniss
stream ecology, MPG Ranch, reference stream, macroinvertebrates
University of Montana
Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology
Many riparian areas in the western United States have been degraded by grazing and logging. In the year 2000, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) re-initiated an effort to identify and characterize reference streams, or least impacted streams in each region of the state. In Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, most streams have been impacted by grazing, irrigation, and timber production. The Montana DEQ has not been able to identify reference streams in the Sapphire Mountains on the east side of this valley. MPG Ranch, located on the west-facing slopes of the Sapphire Mountains and purchased in 2009 by a conservation-minded landowner, has three previously unstudied streams, which are likely candidates for Montana DEQ reference streams. Hence, physical, chemical and biological data were collected at Davis, Woodchuck, and Tongue Creeks on MPG Ranch in the summer of 2015 to assess the potential of these streams to serve as reference streams and to establish a baseline for the ranch as managers of MPG work to restore ecosystems there. Key data collected includes levels of nutrients, benthic algal biomass, community composition of macroinvertebrates, temperature, pH, flow, slope, and other physical parameters of each stream. Results from this study suggest that Davis and Woodchuck Creek should be considered for further research as reference streams for the west-facing slopes of the Sapphire Mountains.
Vinyard, Morgan, "Baseline study of recovering headwater streams in the Sapphire Mountains, western Montana" (2016). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 10639.
© Copyright 2016 Morgan Vinyard