A goal of the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) is to increase the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) instructional and research capacities of specific institutions of higher education that serve the Nation's indigenous students. Expanding the STEM curricular offerings at these institutions expands the opportunities of their students to pursue challenging, rewarding careers in STEM fields, provides for research studies in areas that may be culturally significant, and encourages a community and generational appreciation for science and mathematics education. This project aligns directly with that goal, and moreover will increase the body of knowledge on the effects of unremediated mining operations on water health.
A'aniiih Nakoda College (ANC) will conduct a comparative analysis of the health of two types of streams, impacted and non-impacted by the lingering contamination of two cyanide-leech gold mines in central northern Montana. This will be accomplished using state-approved rapid bioassessment protocols for benthic macroinvertebrates and periphyton. Using samples collected from five reservation streams on a periodic basis, project personnel will sort, identify, count and analyze samples using a multi-metric approach that will include indices for taxa richness, community composition, pollution tolerance/intolerance, and other parameters. Split samples will be analyzed at a certified independent laboratory to ensure quality control.