Northwestern Energy (formerly PPL MT) works with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Montana State University, and other affiliated agencies to fund bull trout studies in the Thompson River, Montana. The goal of the research is to recover bull trout populations in the Clark Fork River drainage. Biomark PIT-tag detection systems operate in the Thompson Falls Dam fish ladder, the confluence between the reservoir and the Thompson River, and in the West Fork Thompson River.

The characteristics of each monitoring location differ so three unique PIT-tag systems are utilized at each site. The state-of-the-art fish ladder, specifically designed for bull trout passage, includes an MTS (Multiplexing Transceiver System) with three pass-through antennas at select weir openings. The array in the Thompson River includes seven 10 foot pass-by antennas that span the width of the river near the confluence with the reservoir. In the West Fork Thompson River, a standalone IS1001 cord system spans a 20 foot wide stream section. Data from these PIT-tag antenna arrays helps researchers evaluate movement and survival of juvenile bull trout as well as other tagged fish including rainbow trout.

Project Summary

Application Description:

Bull trout population recovery

Location:

Thompson River, Montana

Products Used:

Thompson Falls Fish Ladder: IS1001-MTS with remote cellular communication and three shielded pass-through antennas

Thompson River: IS1001-MTS with 7-10’ BIO LITE Antennas

West Fork Thompson River: IS1001 Portable Enclosure with Cord Antenna

Partner Organizations:

Northwestern Energy, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Montana State University

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