Yellowstone staff will start a native fish reintroduction and nonnative fish elimination program on the upper Gibbon River in Yellowstone National Park Monday, August 21.
According to a Yellowstone press release, biologists will work through Saturday, September 30. They will be applying rotenone in the upper Gibbon River drainage.
Rotenone is the piscicide of choice for Yellowstone researchers, since it is naturally occurring and has a quick half-life. Biologists will apply potassium permanganate to the lower part of the upper Gibbon River to ensure the rotenone does not affect fish species downstream. From the press release:
Trails and campsites within the upper Gibbon River drainage will be closed to public access (see map for details). The Ice Lake area will be closed from August 21 to September 30. The Grebe and Wolf lake area will be closed from September 5 to 30.
This action is part of a three year project that will create a refuge for the reintroduction of native westslope cutthroat trout and fluvial (stream-dwelling) arctic grayling, which are the park’s native grayling strain. Genetically pure westslope cutthroat trout and fluvial arctic grayling were nearly eliminated from Yellowstone because of the historical stocking of non-native fish. The park has restored these native fish to East Fork Specimen Creek, Goose Lake, and Grayling Creek as outlined in our Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact documents about the Native Fish Conservation Plan. The work in the upper Gibbon River drainage is a continuation of this effort.
The streamwork dovetails with work being done to remove lake trout from Yellowstone Lake, in order to help cutthroat trout rebound.