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Research Initiative Cover

research initiative

Research objectives.

The BHRA recognizes that the health of the Bighorn River Fishery is dependent on the ecological health of the entire river corridor. The BHRA Research Initiative works to better understand the health of the Bighorn, and how it responds to natural and human factors, through in- depth scientific inquiry that examines:

  • Biology

  • Hydrology

  • Water Quality 

  • Channel Morphology of the River

  • Surrounding Land Use Practices 

 

Through development of a strong scientific foundation, areas of policy,

projects and education can be influenced and developed to benefit working watershed relationships, the wild trout fishery and, most importantly, the long-term health and protection of the Bighorn River. 

 

Observed changes in river characteristics pertaining to river flows, river clarity, hatches and trout abundance led BHRA to conduct a thorough literature review of studies completed on the Bighorn which, coupled with feedback from anglers and partner agencies, identified areas of needed scientific investigation. From identifying what we do not know, BHRA created an interdisciplinary working group led by biologist Warren Kellogg to develop a long- term research plan to guide research efforts moving forward. This document, known as the Research Initiative Plans and Priorities Report identifies program objectives and recommended scopes of work in seven areas critical to the long-term conservation of the Bighorn River that include:

  • Socioeconomics

  • Spatial Information and Data

  • Hydrology

  • Geomorphology

  • Biology

  • Water Quality

  • Climate 

 

Using the Plans and Priorities Report as the guiding document for Research Initiative efforts, BHRA and contractors completed five studies in 2019. A summary of these studies and 2020 work plans are available in the 2019 Annual Report.


Final 2019 BHRA Research Initiative Reports:

 

Based on our work in 2019 an aggressive work program was undertaken in 2020. A summary of these studies and 2021 work plans are available in the 2020 Annual Report.

Final 2020 BHRA Research Initiative Reports:

 
 

map room.

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The Map Room contains the exemplary efforts of Tony Thatcher and Karin Boyd that compile   relevant historic imagery, the 2018 LiDAR topographic data, ownership layers, commonly used angler place names and uses their extensive experience to map inundation risk and channel migration zones.  There are four atlases:

  • The Bighorn River Atlas - High resolution imagery from Yellowtail Dam to the confluence of the Bighorn with the Yellowstone.

  • The Bighorn River Anglers’ Atlas - Maps from Yellowtail Dam to Two Leggins FAS with place names commonly used by anglers and guides.

  • The Bighorn River Inundation Risk Atlas - Maps showing relative flood risk based on ground elevation and connectivity to the River.  Critical for evaluation of riparian restoration/side channel reactivation prospects and for locational decisions with respect to both residential and agricultural development.

  • The Bighorn River Channel Migration Atlas – These maps reflect a detailed analysis of historic patterns of channel movement.  The river channel is always moving, sometimes slowly and predictably, other times significantly and suddenly.  The basic application of this work is for stakeholders to better protect infrastructure from anticipated channel migration and simultaneously to incorporate consideration of channel process and ecological function in management decisions.

 research initiative report library

Click any report or map for more information.

 

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