Branch Chief: Quan Dong
FORT Scientists in the Aquatic Systems Branch conduct research in riverine and riparian environments; provide modeling expertise including aquatic habitat mapping and modeling and development of decision-support systems; design and monitor efficacy of constructed wetlands; and investigate population dynamics, biological requirements, and recovery possibilities of at-risk or declining species such as native fish, amphibians, and riparian vegetation.
Federal agencies, cooperators, and private partners are working together to maintain, restore, and create new conservation herds of free-roaming, wild bison in the United States. A new science feature describes how USGS ungulate ecologist Kate Schoenecker and collaborators are conducting research on bison ecology to provide science information to resource managers at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, The Baca National Wildlife Refuge, and federal, state, and NGO managers of surrounding lands in south-central Colorado. Resource managers are considering the potential to establish a bison conservation herd in the San Luis Valley. Using bison habitat selection models, vegetation monitoring, bison body condition measures, and other factors, Dr. Schoenecker and her team have been instrumental in completing research and providing data and information to help conserve habitat and protect sensitive plant communities, as well as inform decision-makers considering the future of bison in the San Luis Valley.