Yellowstone to cull ‘Nonnative brook trout’ from Soda Butte Creek

Yellowstone National Park Nonnative brook trout discovered Soda Butte Creek

In their latest media release, Yellowstone National Park officials announce their plan to remove all nonnative species from Soda Butte Creek.

Yellowstone National Park (YELL), in coordination with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Custer Gallatin National Forest, “will resume the Soda Butte Creek Native Fish Restoration Project near the Northeast Entrance,” the park reports today, Aug. 2.

This leg of the program will commence August 14 through 18. The goal? “To remove newly discovered nonnative brook trout.”

The park has previously removed brook trout from the creek. New research, however, shows the invasive species is present once again.

That previous fish restoration project would conclude in 2016. At the time, nonnative brook trout “were completely removed from the waterway due to successful treatments.”

Now, “If not removed this month, brook trout will quickly displace native Yellowstone cutthroat trout and eventually invade the entire Lamar River watershed, threatening the largest remaining riverine population of Yellowstone cutthroat trout in existence,” officials explain.

In turn, cutthroat trout will move out of the treatment area the week of Aug. 7 by electroshocking. This way, the species will not suffer from brook trout removal efforts.

“The salvaged cutthroat trout will be held in the Soda Butte Creek watershed in upper untreated tributaries,” Yellowstone confirms.

Then, cutthroat trout will release back into Soda Butte Creek once fisheries staff complete the treatment.  

Yellowstone’s Soda Butte Creek Closing for Brook Trout Removal

From Aug. 14-18, Soda Butte Creek will close to the public. The park boundary at the Northeast Entrance to Ice Box Canyon (9.6 miles) will be off limits.

All the while, Yellowstone biologists will remove brook trout by applying an EPA-approved pescicide, rotenone. Warm Creek and Soda Butte Creek picnic areas will also close for project staging.

The park has a map available to the public for closure details. 

*Yellowstone note on Native Trout: Cutthroat trout are the only trout species native to the park. They are the most ecologically important fish of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and are highly regarded by anglers. Genetically pure Yellowstone cutthroat trout populations have declined throughout their natural range in the Intermountain West, succumbing to competition with and predation by nonnative fish species, a loss of genetic integrity through hybridization, habitat degradation and predation.

You can learn more about the Soda Butte fish restoration and ongoing preservation efforts at Native Fish Conservation Program.

To support park efforts, see our Yellowstone National Park apparel here.

Published by Jon D. B.

Author & Conservationist Founder @ National Park Outfitters Behavioral Husbandry via Nashville Zoo

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