A new attempt to rid streams of non-native brook trout will begin this week, when Elk Creek and its tributaries will be treated with Rotenone to kill off the invasive species.
Elk Creek is located near Tower Junction in the Yellowstone River drainage; the treatment will include Lost and Yancey creeks. The treatment won’t affect the nearby Yellowstone River.
The rationale for the treatment is simple: the non-native brook trout is displacing cutthroat trout and other native fish species. The fish toxin will remove the non-native brook trout as part of Yellowstone’s Native Fish Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment, which was approved in May 2011.
While the chemical Rotenone will be introduced in small quantities, visitors are advised not to swim in or drink from the streams now through October 7. Warning signs will be posted at all treated areas.
This year’s treatment is the first in a series that is expected to continue over the next two to three years. Treatments will be conducted until brook trout have been completely removed from the streams. The park will then reintroduce genetically pure native Yellowstone cutthroat trout to the streams. The long term plan is not only to support native species restoration, but also for these streams to provide a brood stock population of cutthroat for future restoration efforts.
RELATED ON THE WEB: Hope floats in Yellowstone Lake [Powell Tribune]