Yellowstone continues efforts to eliminate non-native fish

Yellowstone National Park wildlife officials are working to restore native fish species like Yellowstone cutthroat trout to waters across the park.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Yellowstone National Park wildlife officials are working to restore native fish species like Yellowstone cutthroat trout to waters across the park.

Wildlife managers in Yellowstone National Park next week will continue their efforts to restore native trout populations by introducing a poison to eradicate non-native fish near Tower Junction.

Starting Monday, Sept. 23, biologists will introduce a fish toxin into Elk Creek and its tributaries, including Lost Creek and Yancey Creek, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.

Park visitors are advised to avoid swimming in or drinking from those waters through the end of the month.

The goal is to restore Yellowstone cutthroat trout and other native fish in park waters. Non-native brook trout are being removed from Elk Creek as part of Yellowstone’s Native Fish Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment, which was approved in May 2011.

Park officials said the project will not effect the nearby Yellowstone River.

In past decades, fisheries managers and others has sometimes stocked park waters with non-native fish, including brook trout. Their presence has contributed to a decline in native cutthroat trout in park lakes, rivers and streams. Brook trout compete with cutthroat trout and often completely displace them and other native fish species.

In the Elk Creek effort, the chemical Rotenone will be introduced in small quantities. Visitors are advised not to swim in or drink from the streams from Monday through September 30. Warning signs will be posted at all treated areas.

This year’s treatment is the second in a series that is expected to continue over the next year or two.

In August, non-native brown trout and rainbow trout were removed from Grayling Creek and its tributaries north of West Yellowstone in the Madison River drainage.

Officials aim to restore native westslope cutthroat trout and Arctic grayling in Grayling Creek.

In Elk Creek and its tributaries, treatments will be conducted until brook trout have been completely removed from the streams. Biologists will then reintroduce genetically pure native Yellowstone cutthroat trout to the streams.

The long-term plan is to support native species restoration and for these streams to provide a brood stock population of cutthroat for future restoration efforts.

More information on the park’s Native Fish Conservation Plan can be found online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=30504.

Contact Yellowstone Gate at 307-213-9818 or [email protected]

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