Science guides management at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. There are multiple on-going research projects being completed at Red Rock Lakes, most through partnerships with local universities. Red Rock Lakes is important to academic research due to the location in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, it's importance as a wildlife corridor connecting to the Bitteroot Range, the diversity of the refuge (habitats, elevation, and wildlife) and the general remoteness of the valley.
Recent publications of work done at Red Rock Lakes include:
-- Contaminants in Eggs of Lesser Scaup Nesting on Lower Red Rock Lake, Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
-- Recovery of Arctic grayling: The US Fish and Wildlife Service has recently been working to update the information on the population genetics of Arctic grayling in the upper Missouri River system in Montana and Wyoming. The project was divided into two components. For the first component, our general objective was to use microsatellite DNA markers to more clearly characterize ancestral relationships, genetic differentiation, and genetic diversity within and among native and naturalized Arctic grayling populations in Montana and Wyoming.The first component of this project was completed in fall 2008.
The second component focused on the Arctic grayling population in the Big Hole River, Montana. The objectives were to characterize the genetic diversity, effective population size, and population structure of Arctic grayling in the Big Hole River based on individuals collected during three different time periods (1980s, 1990s, and 2000s) using microsatellite DNA markers. This analysis was conducted by Dr. William Ardren, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Western New England Complex, Essex Junction, Vermont. The project completion date was December 2009.
-- Relationships among Moose Abundance, Willow Community Structure and Migratory Landbirds at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
-- Implications of Breeding Strategy for Cross-Seasonal Contaminant Effects on Eggs: A Case Study with Lesser Scaup
-- Effects of Cattle Grazing on Small Mammal Communities at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
-- Dynamics of a Harvested Moose Population in Southwest Montana
-- Arctic Grayling Emergence and Development in Odell Creek, Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge
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In 1932, fewer than 70 trumpeters were known to exist worldwide, at a location near Yellowstone National Park. This led to the establishment of Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in 1935. Red Rock Lakes is located in Montana's Centennial Valley and is part of the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Nearly half of the known trumpeter swans in 1932 were found in this area. Warm springs provide year-round open waters where swans find food and cover even in the coldest weather.
Today, estimates show about 46,225 trumpeter swans reside in North America, including some 26,790 in the Pacific Coast population (Alaska,Yukon, and NW British Columbia) which winter on the Pacific Coast; 8,950 in Canada; about 9,809 in the Midwest; and about 487 in the tri-state area of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana (including the Red Rock Lakes refuge flock).