Yellowstone To Begin Westslope Cutthroat Trout Restoration Project
Contact: Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Vallie, (307) 344-2012
A project to restore native westslope cutthroat trout in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park will begin next week.
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 will remove all non-native and hybridized trout within the East Fork Specimen Creek watershed using approved fish toxins. A barrier will be placed in the creek to protect the watershed from further invasion by non-native fish. Genetically pure westslope cutthroat trout will be reintroduced in High Lake, East Fork Specimen Creek and other streams in the watershed which are within the natural, historic distribution of the species. Westslope cutthroat trout introduced to this watershed will provide a productive fishery for visitors to this remote area.
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. An environmental assessment (EA) for the proposed project was released for public review in May. The Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) which allows the project to proceed was signed late last week.
A copy of the EA and the FONSI are available on the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov.
Did You Know?
The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.