Yellowstone Resumes Native Fish – Cutthroat Trout – Restoration Project
Yellowstone National Park will resume the Soda Butte Creek Native Fish Restoration Project near the Northeast Entrance next week to remove newly discovered nonnative brook trout, according to a press release from the Park.
The Park will work with the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Custer Gallatin National Forest.
In 2016, the fish restoration project ended after nonnative brook trout were completely removed from the waterway due to successful treatments.
But the brook trout are back.
If not addressed this month, they will quickly displace native Yellowstone cutthroat trout and eventually invade the entire Lamar River watershed, threatening the largest remaining riverine population of Yellowstone cutthroat trout in existence.
From Aug. 14 to 18, Soda Butte Creek will be closed to the public from the park boundary at the Northeast Entrance 9.6 miles to Ice Box Canyon while biologists remove brook trout by applying the EPA-approved piscicide rotenone.
Warm Creek and Soda Butte Creek picnic areas also will be closed for project staging.
This week, cutthroat trout will be moved out of the treatment area by electroshocking.
The salvaged cutthroat trout will be held in the Soda Butte Creek watershed in upper untreated tributaries.
Cutthroat trout will be released back into Soda Butte Creek once fisheries staff complete the treatment.
Cutthroat trout are the only trout species native to the Park.
They are the most ecologically important fish of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and are highly regarded by anglers.
Genetically pure Yellowstone cutthroat trout populations have declined throughout their natural range in the Intermountain West, succumbing to competition with and predation by nonnative fish species, a loss of genetic integrity through hybridization, habitat degradation and predation.