The first step in Arctic grayling and native westslope cutthroat trout restoration in Yellowstone National Park’s Grayling Creek — removing non-native trout — begins this week.
The effort begins with Grayling Creek and its tributaries, located north of West Yellowstone in the Madison River drainage. Decades ago, the streams were invaded by non-native brown and rainbow trout. Their presence has contributed to a decline in native cutthroat trout in park lakes, rivers and streams.
This week an interagency team of biologists will introduce a fish toxin into the streams to remove the non-native trout as part of Yellowstone’s Native Fish Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment, which was approved in May 2011. Only waters within Yellowstone National Park will be treated. The project will not impact downstream reaches.
While the chemical Rotenone will be introduced in small quantities, visitors are advised not to swim in or drink from the streams now through August 30. 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 nonnative trout have been completely removed from the streams. The Park will then reintroduce genetically pure native Arctic grayling and westslope 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 stock population for future restoration efforts in the region.
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