South Saskatchewan River Headwaters

Saint Mary River Drainage
The South Saskatchewan River in Montana includes the headwaters of the Saint Mary River (on the right), the Belly River (in the center) and the Waterton River (on the left). All of these rivers flow north and enter Canada at the top edge of the above image. The Milk River drains east of this area and the Flathead drains west of this area. Cutbank Creek drains a very limited area southeast of this area. Triple Divide Peak at the southern edge of the area drains into 3 oceans. Most of this area is within Glacier National Park.

Tubifex Summary

As of January 29, 1997, I have only a single sample from the area. I prepared 15 slides and examined 68 worms in detail. This is an early season quantitative sample (165) from the Saint Mary River near Babb. Oligochaete density was 469 worms per litter. There was no sign of Tubifex even though this should be the best time to find it.

Aquatic Oligochaete species list

Whirling Disease Risk Assessment

There is little reason to expect much Tubifex in the entire area so this area should be largely safe from whirling disease. Tubifex probably occurs in the streams only in very limited mountain seeps or in the lowest parts of the lowest tributaries on the Saint Mary River. Tubifex is more likely in some of the deep or alpine lakes.

Tubifex Research Needs and Opportunities

This interesting area has very poor coverage, even for a low risk area. I should get a few more samples from the major accessible streams and from the highest risk areas.

10 Feb 1997, updated on 26 FEB 1997, D.L. Gustafson
Back to the Montana Tubifex Summary by River System
AIM home page