June 2, 2009
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt
Contact: Wade Muehlhof
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Officials at Glacier National Park announce the availability of the Large-Scale Removal of Lake Trout in Quartz Lake Environmental Assessment (EA) which is now available for a 30-day public review and comment period.
Until recently, Quartz Lake, located in Glacier National Park’s northwestern corner, was the largest natural lake with native fish populations in the entire Columbia River Basin that had not been compromised by nonnative fish species. Despite efforts to protect Quartz Lake from invading lake trout, (by installation of a fish barrier in 2004), they were discovered shortly afterward.
In response, Glacier National Park has proposed a project to evaluate and determine the status of lake trout in Quartz Lake, and then remove/suppress them. While the proposed project would take place on Quartz Lake, it has the potential to protect the native fishery of the entire upper Quartz Lake system which includes Middle Quartz, Quartz and Cerulean Lakes.
The upper Quartz Lake system is located within recommended wilderness in the North Fork of the Flathead River watershed. Native fish species in this system include bull trout, classified under the Endangered Species Act as “Threatened,” westslope cutthroat trout, a Montana State Species of Special Concern, and mountain whitefish.
The Plan/EA evaluates a no action alternative and one action alternative that would evaluate the status of lake trout and remove them using a motorized boat and netting operation. Impacts associated with the proposal were evaluated by park resource specialists for the following topics: fisheries/aquatic species, recommended wilderness, visitor use and experience, wildlife, and Threatened and Endangered species, Species of Concern and natural sound.
The Plan/EA is available for a 30-day public review period. All comments must be received by Monday, June 29, 2009.
The document is available online on the National Park Service’s planning website at (http://parkplanning.nps.gov/parkHome.cfm?parkId=61) by selecting this project or by calling the park (406-888-7898) and requesting a copy. Written comments can also be submitted to: Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: Quartz Lake EA, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, Montana 59936.
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