Our goal is to collect eDNA samples at regular intervals in most cold-water habitats throughout the U.S. bull trout range that have a greater than 25% probability of occupancy by juvenile bull trout, that are regarded as critical habitat for spawning and rearing, or that historically supported bull trout. To achieve that goal, we need your help.
We seek partners that are willing to conduct the field work and recognize the value of a rapid, comprehensive, precise, and reliable assessment of the distribution of bull trout. We’re not asking for a season-long commitment; rather, if you can sample one or more cold-water habitats in their entirety, then we welcome your participation.
To make that possible, we will provide you with all you need to conduct eDNA field sampling for juvenile bull trout. That includes:
4) The loan of a pump set with a battery & charger. We operate a “tool library” i.e., you can reserve a pump set for use during a particular time. The number of pump sets is limited and demand is high, so it’s important to reserve one. It’s also critical to return it when you are done to permit others to start their sampling. If you want to buy your own pump set—which gives you more flexibility with respect to when you sample—we can give you the specifications.
5) Field kits for the collection and storage of eDNA samples. To ensure consistency in sampling and guarantee sterility of the supplies, we prefer to provide the field kits to you.
Once sampling is complete, return the pump set, field kits, and collected samples. In a few weeks, we'll share with you whether and where bull trout were present. And at the end of each year, we'll post an interactive map of the results of sampling across the range of bull trout on our results page.
There are some important caveats:
Some locations don’t need to be sampled. We want to resolve uncertainty about the distribution of bull trout, so eDNA surveys are unnecessary in locations where bull trout spawning and rearing is known to occur, where locations only constitute migratory habitat, or where bull trout are known to be absent. In some areas, the presence of brook trout may influence whether a stream is sampled. Please work with us to identify such locations before starting your sampling.
This was initially a 3-year project. Original samples were collected and submitted from 2016-2018. More recent bull trout data were added from samples from the eDNAtlas project, which also includes samples taken prior to 2016.
Funding is not available for all areas. In the Northern Rockies, the genetic analyses have been funded, so field sampling is the only limitation to knowing the distribution of bull trout in natal habitats. In the Intermountain West, there is a cost-match for genetic analyses which will enable us to inventory a broad swath of this area with your matching contributions and help. West of the Cascades, we’re seeking partners that are able to fully fund the genetic analyses, and we have the maps ready to guide the sampling.
Other species are important. Although bull trout are a focal species, we’re also involved in developing eDNA assays and sampling projects for many other species of native and non-native fish, amphibians, mussels, aquatic invertebrates, and aquatic mammals. Also, the samples being collected as part of the range-wide survey of bull trout can be used to address questions about the distribution of many other aquatic species. If you’d like to propose a project involving other species, please contact Mike Young [Phone: 406-542-3254;