Montana prairie riparian native species study
Funding: Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Duration: April 2002 to May 2004
Personnel: Robert G. Bramblett (Postdoctoral Associate), Melissa R. Jones-Wuellner (MS student), Alexander V. Zale, Christopher S. Guy

An analysis of the Montana River Information System database maintained by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks revealed that more than 18,000 miles of streams in Montana have not been surveyed. The overwhelming majority of these waters are small, warmwater prairie streams located in eastern Montana. A strong likelihood exists that many of these streams contain intact, diverse assemblages of native non-game fish and amphibian species. Similarly, data are scarce or non-existent for amphibians, reptiles, birds, and small mammals in the riparian corridors through which these prairie streams flow. The purpose of this study is to gain a greater understanding of the vertebrate faunas that occur in a diversity of prairie stream and associated riparian/grassland habitats by performing a survey of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. This information will enable resource managers to better understand and manage prairie species and their habitat. The primary objectives of this study are to 1) determine species presence and diversity of fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal species that occur in or around small streams in eastern Montana, 2) fill in data gaps on prairie fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal species distribution, 3) determine where intact assemblages of native aquatic species occur, 4) increase knowledge about the distribution of sensitive species, and 5) gather baseline data to be used to respond to resource pressures such as coal bed methane extraction and bait fish seining.