Enrichment and Restoration in the Upper Clark Fork River: Biogeochemical and Food Web Responses

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The talk will cover an ecosystem approach to addressing the influences of floodplain restoration and nutrient enrichment in the Upper Clark Fork River (UCFR), relying on historical monitoring data and current investigation of river form and function. Metal contamination is being removed from the floodplain but remains in the channel with implications for the aquatic biota. Nitrogen fuels massive blooms of nuisance algae that alters fish feeding behavior and may combine with metal stress to limit trout production. The UCFR will be a focus of restoration and research for decades to come.

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Maury Valett is a Professor of Systems Ecology at the University of Montana. He has studied the energetics and nutrients dynamics of streams and rivers for over 25 years including the implications of experimental flooding, acidification, nutrient enrichment, and metal contamination of ecological form and function. Dr. Valett is currently funded by grants from the National Science Foundation (metal and nutrient interactions during restoration of a river-floodplain system) and the State of Montana’s Natural Resource Damage Program (metals, metabolism, restoration, and trout populations in the Clark Fork River Superfund Site).