Arctic Grayling 280x134 jpeg

Among other science projects, biologists at Red Rock Lakes are restoring Arctic Grayling to the refuge with encouraging results.

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.   

There are many ongoing projects happening here at the refuge: 

(Click link for a summary and updates on each project)

 Quantifying the Efficacy of Cheatgrass Management

 Sagebrush Songbird Population Study

 Modifications of fencelines and their effect on the Greater Sage-grouse



The following studies investigate the Lesser Scaup as a representative of water fowl on the refuge. Studies attempt to determine what factors are involved in maintaining a healthy population of ducks here.


Waterfowl Food Sources for Egg Production


Duck Breeding Habitat Selection


Duck Breeding Success Factors


Summary to be provided soon:


-- 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