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On the strong foundation of our past, we are building the future of aquatic ecology on the shores of Flathead Lake.
Director Jim Elser

Make no small plans. Donate

facility improvements

The Flathead Lake Biological Station is a world-class facility nestled in Yellow Bay. Donors have shaped our 80-acre physical campus through their support of research labs, administrative and support buildings, housing and our boathouse. Your gift helps fuel future growth by supporting additional capacity and much-needed maintenance to our 60 buildings.

Operational support

The Flathead Lake Biological Station conducts a variety of programs and activities, including research and monitoring of the Lake; summer ecology classes; scholarships, internships and fellowships for students; K-12 education programs; and the SensorSpace environmental sensor lab. All of these activities contribute to the understanding and protection of a healthy Flathead Lake. Philanthropic gifts make these thriving programs possible.

scholarships, fellowships and internships

Learning at the Bio Station is life changing for many young people and young professionals. Scholarships support undergraduates who take our summer courses, while fellowships enable top graduate students to join our scientific research efforts. We have also expanded our summer internship program to create more options for students from across disciplines so they may experience Flathead Lake and gain a hands-on understanding of science and conservation.


In the past, when researchers needed to collect environmental data, armies of students went into the field to gather samples, make measurements and record findings by hand. Today, we deploy automated environmental sensors to do these jobs for us, often with greater precision, reliability and at lower cost. Further, sensors make it possible to collect data more frequently. The result is more robust and useful data sets. The Bio Station is evolving the use of this technology through SensorSpace, a development facility for research, manufacture and use of environmental sensors.

flathead watershed research and monitoring

FLBS has studied Flathead Lake and the rivers of the Flathead for over 100 years, instituting a scientifically rigorous monitoring program in 1977. We provide information about our discoveries to citizens, business leader, tribal, state and federal resource managers, and politicians so they can make science-based decisions that protect our water. Water quality successes include the ban of Phosphorus detergents, the upgrade of local sewage treatment systems and prevention of mining in the upper North Fork Flathead River. A high priority right now is early detection monitoring for the arrival of new aquatic invasive species, especially zebra and quagga mussels. With your support we will continue to protect Flathead Lake and its watershed.

flare: k-12 education

The Flathead Lake Aquatic Research and Education Program – or FLARE – aims to make science engaging, and to help young people understand the lake and their local environment. We bring students to the Bio Station for hands-on activities, bring FLBS educators to local classrooms and train teachers on thoughtful ways to incorporate FLBS science into their classes. Curriculum focuses on Flathead Lake ecology and aquatic ecosystems in general and is designed to meet Montana state science standards.

During Campaign Montana, donors will have the opportunity to support our mission in several key areas. With your generosity, FLBS will ensure strong support for the people at the heart of our research efforts – our faculty, staff and students – and bolster some of its signature programs, like lake monitoring. We will continue to provide exceptional educational opportunities to University of Montana undergraduates, graduate students and the general public at large through educational outreach opportunities.