Posted: Sep 19, 2013 4:49 PM by MTN News
In an effort to restore native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, biologists will introduce a fish toxin into Elk Creek this week.
Elk Creek and its tributaries including Lost and Yancey creeks are located near Tower Junction in the Yellowstone River drainage.
According to the park officials, non-native brook trout were stocked into streams decades ago. The brook trout contributed to a decline in native cutthroat trout in Yellowstone's park lakes, rivers and streams. Brook trout compete with cutthroat trout and often completely displace them and other native fish species.
The efforts to remove the non-native brook trout is part of Yellowstone's Native Fish Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment, which was approved in May 2011. The project will not impact the nearby Yellowstone River.
While the chemical Rotenone will be introduced in small quantities, visitors are advised not to swim in or drink from the streams now through Sept. 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 one to two years. Treatments will be conducted until brook trout have been completely removed from the streams. The park will then reintroduce genetically pure native Yellowstone cutthroat trout to the streams. The long term plan is not only to support native species restoration, but also for these streams to provide a brood stock population of cutthroat for future restoration efforts.
Click here for more information on the park's Native Fish Conservation Plan.
Photo: Yellowstone National Park website