More Yellowstone stream poisoning is on tap next week, as the National Park Service implements another step in efforts to restore native cutthroat trout.
The location: Elk Creek and its tributaries, including Lost and Yancey creeks, near Tower Junction in the Yellowstone River drainage.
According to NPS officials, the streams were stocked with non-native brook trout decades go. Their presence has contributed to a decline in native cutthroat trout in these creeks. Brook trout compete with cutthroat trout and often completely displace them and other native fish species. The fight against brook trout has been going on for the better part of a decade, with previous attempts at Yellowstone stream poisoning already performed. In addition, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are looking at poisoning brook trout originating from a 12-mile stretch of Soda Butte Creek located outside Cooke City, a move that should cut down on migrations into Yellowstone National Park.
Next week, biologists will introduce a fish toxin into the streams to remove the non-native brook trout as part of Yellowstone’s Native Fish Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment, which was approved in May 2011. The project will not impact the nearby Yellowstone River. Officials say that while the chemical rotenone will be introduced in small quantities, visitors are advised not to swim in or drink from the streams through September 30. Warning signs will be posted at all treated areas.
After all brook trout have been removed, the park will reintroduce genetically pure native Yellowstone cutthroat trout to the streams.
More information on the park’s Native Fish Conservation Plan can be found online here.
Image courtesy National Park Service.
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