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Westslope Cutthroat Trout Restoration Environmental

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Date: May 9, 2006
Contact: Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Vallie, (307) 344-2012

Yellowstone National Park is proposing to restore native westslope cutthroat trout in the East Fork Specimen Creek watershed located in the northwest corner of the park.

Yellowstone cutthroat trout were planted in High Lake at the headwaters of Specimen Creek in 1937. The population moved downstream from the historically fishless lake and hybridized with westslope cutthroat trout, contributing to their loss of genetic integrity.

This restoration project is currently available for public comment and review. It includes a proposal to remove all non-native and hybridized trout within the East Fork Specimen Creek watershed using approved fish toxins. A barrier would be placed in the creek to protect the watershed from further invasion by non-native fish. Genetically pure westslope cutthroat trout would be reintroduced to streams of the watershed which are within the natural, historical distribution of the species. Westslope cutthroat trout that would be introduced to High Lake would provide a productive fishery for visitors to this remote area.

“We need to work proactively to restore westslope cutthroat to Yellowstone,” said Todd Koel, the park’s lead fisheries biologist. “Less than 1,000 genetically pure westslope cutthroat trout are known to exist in the park. This species needs our help. These native fish cannot come back on their own.”

Public scoping for the proposed project to identify issues and concerns took place last fall. Public meetings were also held during November 2005 in Bozeman and West Yellowstone, Montana, to solicit comments on the proposed issues and alternatives.

A draft environmental assessment (EA) has been prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act for this project. The document is available on the National Park Service (NPS) Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website, http://parkplanning.nps.gov. A printed copy of the EA is available by contacting Restore Westslope Cutthroat Trout Project, Yellowstone National Park, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.

Written comments may be submitted through the PEPC website, in person, or by mail. Comments will not be accepted over the phone, by fax, or e-mail. All public comments must be received or postmarked by midnight, June 7, 2006.

It is the practice of the NPS to make all comments, including names and addresses of respondents who provide that information, available for public review following the conclusion of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. Individuals may request that the NPS withhold their name and/or address from public disclosure. If you wish to do this, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. Individuals using the NPS website can make such a request by checking the box “keep my contact information private.” The NPS will honor such requests to the extent allowable by law; however, you should be aware that the NPS may still be required to disclose your name and address pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.

Did You Know?

Bear Cubs

Even though the animals of Yellowstone seem tame they are still wild. Feeding the animals is not permitted in any way, and all visitors must keep 100 yards away from wolves and bears, and 25 yards from other animals.