Flathead River Biomonitoring Program

The Flathead River Biomonitoring Program has collected water quality and benthic invertebrate data in five tributaries in the Canadian Flathead River watershed between 2013 and 2017. This project aims to understand the impacts of timber harvest on benthic invertebrate species’ traits. It will look at ecological and functional relationships between the landscape of an unpopulated, but commercially logged catchment by investigating spatial and temporal trends in the benthic invertebrate community. The methodology applied for assessing benthic invertebrate species trait diversity is the Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) method developed by Environment and Climate Change Canada. An emphasis will be placed on the possibility of predicting changes in individual species abundance and diversity of traits over time; comparison of species abundance, diversity or traits according to environmental gradients; comparison of recovery of species abundance, diversity or traits by site over time; and alterations in riparian and floodplain health as a result of such timber harvest practices.

The Flathead River Biomonitoring Project collaborates with Wildsight, Canfor, Univeristy of Montana, Flathead Lake Biological Research Station, US Fish and Wildlife Service, University of New Brunswick and Selkirk College Geospatial Research Centre to foster data sharing, cross-sector relationship building, and improve knowledge of this transboundary watershed.