Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Utah
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Utah Project

BoR: Understanding and Quantifying Fish Movement, Habitat Use, and Survival Through Innovative PIT Tag Technology

September 2019 - September 2024


Participating Agencies

  • Bureau of Recalmation
Flat plate Pit Tag detection antennas being installed in McElmo Creek, a tributary to the San Juan River. The antenna installation was in collaboration with the UTDOT who were repairing a bridge over McElmo Creek.

Beginning in the 1990’s recovery programs throughout the Colorado River Basin have relied on PIT-tagging (Passive Integrated Transponder) as a way to individually mark fish and allows researchers to track fish over time and eventually provide population estimates. These population estimates are critical to determining the effects of management actions and ultimately lead to decisions on whether the fish populations can recover and be delisted. The goal of this project is to assist Reclamation in the continued technological development of fish-detection systems, specifically those related to PIT Tags and to assist in the analyses and storage of the data that is derived from these systems and how it relates to management of Reclamation facilities and waters.

Research Publications Publication Date
Stout, J.B, M.M. Conner, P. Budy, P. Mackinnon, and M. McKinstry. 2019. We ain’t afraid of no ghosts: Tracking habitat interactions and movement dynamics of ghost tags under differing flow conditions in a sand bed river. 21 September, 2019 Accepted. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, Management Brief 39:1337-1347 September 2019
Presentations Presentation Date
Speas, D, P.MacKinnon.2020. Entrainment of endangered fish in the Green River Canal, Utah, 2013-2019. 40th annual Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program Researcher's Meeting, Durango CO, 14-15 January 2020. January 2020
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Stout, Benjamin. 2020. Improving our ability to estimate vital rates of endangered fishes on the San Juan River using novel applications of PIT tag technology. MS Thesis. Ecology. Utah State University. April 2020