Montana State University

Montana scientists, students receive money for water research

January 17, 2006 -- From MSU News Service

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The effect of beaver ponds on brook trout, culverts on fish, and conifers on ground and surface water are some of the topics to be explored by Montana student fellows and faculty scientists who recently received grants for water research.

The Montana University System Water Center gave a total of $56,000 to one undergraduate student, seven graduate students and three scientists for their 2006-07 projects. Five of the students are Montana State University graduate students. Two are graduate students at the University of Montana. One is an undergraduate at Montana Tech. Half the students received $1,000 each, and the other half received $2,000 each.

Two of the faculty recipients work at Montana Tech and one at the University of Montana. Each received $14,600 to $15,000. The grants were funded through the federal Water Resources Research Act. The Montana Water Center is based at MSU.

The student fellowship recipients and their projects are:

-- Kenneth Bates, an undergraduate at Montana Tech, received $1,000 to study magnesium and zinc in the Clark Fork and Big Hole rivers and see how the metals affect groundwater. Bates is a Helena native who lives in Butte.

-- Teresa Cohn of Lakewood, Colo., an MSU graduate student in earth sciences, received $1,000 to study the effects of riparian changes on the Wind River in Wyoming. The project has implications for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Montana, said Susan Higgins, assistant director for outreach at the Montana Water Center.

-- Sunni Heikes-Knapton of Ennis, an MSU graduate student in land resources and environmental sciences, received $2,000 to see how sub-alpine wetlands respond to environmental changes.

-- Margie Kinnersley of Missoula, a UM graduate student in biological sciences, received $2,000 to look at water quality issues in Montana on a molecular level.

-- Erin Thais Riley of Bozeman, an MSU graduate student in animal and range science, received $1,000 to investigate the impact of conifers on ground and surface water in Montana.

-- Leo Rosenthal of Butte, an MSU graduate student in ecology, received $1,000 to study the effect of culverts on fisheries development in Eastern Montana.

-- Mark Schaffer of Taos, N.M., an MSU graduate student in earth sciences, received $2,000, to look at ground and surface water interaction in the Four Corners area near Bozeman. The project involves the Gallatin River and urban development.

-- Christa Torrens of Rochester, N.Y., a UM graduate student in environmental studies, received $2,000 to study the effects of low water levels in Warm Springs Creek on brown trout eggs.

Faculty receiving grants were:

-- Steve Parker of Montana Tech received $14,646 to look at carbon cycling and variability involving dissolved organic and inorganic carbon in the Clark Fork and Big Hole rivers of southwest Montana.

-- Chris Gammons of Montana Tech received $14,600 to study nitrate concentrations in the upper Silver Bow Creek drainage around Butte. This watershed has been affected by mining.

-- Lisa Eby from UM received $15,000 to study the impact of beaver ponds on brook trout expansion in the Wise River Ranger District of the Deerlodge National Forest.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu