The new edition of Yellowstone Science highlights ongoing efforts to restore native fish to Yellowstone National Park.
According to senior Yellowstone fisheries biologist Todd Koel, speaking in a press release, “Our goal is as bold as it is difficult: restore the ecological role of Yellowstone’s native fish species.” The articles in Yellowstone Science discuss new management techniques and scientific discoveries being used to guide native fish restoration. From the press release:
Modern fisheries management places an emphasis on restoring native fish populations including Yellowstone Cutthroat trout, Westslope Cutthroat Trout, and Arctic Grayling. Through construction of fish barriers, the use of fish toxins to remove non-natives, and reintroduction of native fish, this issue examines the successes of the native fisheries program and the questions that still linger. Are there alternative methods that might be more effective for lake trout removal than gillnetting? How can the spread of additional aquatic invasive species such as the zebra mussel be prevented?
Several articles focus on restoration of cutthroat trout in Yellowstone Lake, in particular, eradication of non-native lake trout that were found in Yellowstone Lake in 1994. In the article, “Suppressing Non-native Lake Trout to Restore Native Cutthroat Trout in Yellowstone Lake,” fisheries biologists Pat Bigelow, Phil Doepke, Brian Ertel, Chris Guy, John Syslo, and Todd Koel discuss the history of a project that has removed more than 3.2 million lake trout from Yellowstone Lake (1994-2016) through gillnetting and angler catch.
Lake trout pose a significant threat to native fish populations as they not only consume cutthroat trout, but live long lives in areas of the lake that make them largely unavailable to species that once depended on cutthroat as a food source. “Non-native Lake Trout Induce Cascading Changes in the Yellowstone Lake Ecosystem” by Todd Koel, Jeff Arnold, Lisa Baril, Kerry Gunther, Doug Smith, John Syslo, and Lusha Tonstad discusses the effect one species, lake trout, has had on Yellowstone Lake, the heart of the region’s ecosystem.
Yellowstone Science is published by the Park with support from Yellowstone Forever and a grant from Canon’s Eyes on Yellowstone program. You can read the latest issue here. Although print subscriptions are available, Yellowstone Science encourages digital subscriptions.