Listen: Submarine Hobbyists Help Researchers On Montana's Flathead Lake
"Something unusual was bubbling underneath the surface of northwest montana's flathead lake this summer submarines the subs pilots. We're helping cash-strapped researchers helping them explore the depths of flathead lake for free and study the lake's ecosystem aaron bolton with montana public radio radio explains it can be hard for research divers to see what's at the bottom of deep bodies of water like flathead lake unless of course they have a submarine marie. We'll be a good test right. That's right and grab a screamer this summer. A group of submarine hobbyists is who build subs themselves spent a week on flathead lake as volunteers. One of them is hancock who lives in nearby hype bridge columbia on a recent tuesday morning we get into his two man submarine smaller than a compact car already bobbing on the lakes crystal clear surface khun bang on forty feet. They're wanting to go down. Okay all right. We're gonna die prong cane to north west montana to help researchers explore the bottom of flathead lake which is three hundred eighty feet at its deepest point <music> fourteen feet from the renou slope icy prox- sub is the people of going much deeper than the bio stations research divers limit of one hundred feet. One of the stations research scientist is jim craft. He says deep water research research is expensive unless you're going to do a lot with them to put out you know twenty thousand dollars or so for rover or shoot in autumn how much a submarine cost but he does know they don't do enough research that deep to justify the cost but the sediment and algae samples collected on this expedition might lead to more deepwater research video will also help researchers examined invasive mices shrimp so understanding their habits in what author doing is really nice. This scientific reconnaissance wouldn't have been financially feasible for the bio station without proc. The sub hobbyists are members burs of inner space science a collective that connects researchers with private submarine owners when we started it two years ago. Alex smith is the site's founder and seems to be working out the group's seven members solicit expedition ideas from researchers through their website and because they're not commercial operators. No money exchanges his hands. They're just in it for the experience. It's much more rewarding to use your sub that way than to just putter around and just come home with a family family video. Something smith hopes the resulting research will bring in more expedition requests back on the bottom of flathead lake sub owner hand crank and a fellow inner space science member have found some of those invasive mice shrimp beginning their daily migration gracious to feed on the surface. Yes so they're they're so tiny. The mices population has fueled old in explosion of invasive lake trout since the nineteen eighties significantly reducing numbers of native trout species the resulting data from the partnership between the hobbyists owners and researchers could help lake managers understand what's happening with trout populations and how they might restore the ecosystem for n._p._r. M._p._r. news. I'm erin bolton at flathead lake in montana."