Montana Eurasian Milfoil Mapping Mission Starts This Week

Aquatechnex biologists will be starting an invasive aquatic species mapping mission on Noxon Reservoir in NW Montana this coming week.  The Sanders County Eurasian Milfoil Task Force selected our team from proposals that were submitted to assist them in managing Eurasian Milfoil and other noxious aquatic plants in this Reservoir System.  This work will help develop and document treatment sites, monitor the response of the target vegetation to herbicide applications and make recommendations on improving treatments in the coming year.

Aquatechnex will be using three mapping technologies to perform this work.

The first is Aerial Shoreline Analysis, a remote sensing technology we developed for detecting and mapping submerged aquatic vegetation.  This system uses a high resolution GPS camera system and flight protocols to maximize water penetration.  The images are linked to the position they were collected in ArcGIS and analyzed.  They will be collected pre and post treatment to provide a visual evaluation of herbicide treatment results as well.

The second is a point intercept grid survey.  This sampling grid is built in ArcGIS and transferred to Trimble DGPS data loggers.  The team will sample a number of points in each treatment area and document species present and densities.  This work will be performed pre and post treatment to map changes resulting from the treatments and efficacy.

The third will be the deployment of a new BioSonics MX scientific echosounder with aquatic habitat processing software.  Aquatechnex is the first client of theirs to purchase and deploy this new technology.  Transects will be traveled through treatment areas and this system will map depth, percent plant cover and plant height.  This information will be used to shape treatment rates calculating the portion of the water column that has vegetation present.  These transects will also be sampled on the identical paths post treatment to show changes in percent plant cover and plant height as another measurement of the success of the treatment.

We are looking forward to helping the Task Force accomplish their mission of clearing these noxious aquatic species from this area of the State.

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