Yellowstone National Park is known as the home of its namesake cutthroat trout, a native species. Those fish took a sharp nosedive after lake trout populations in Yellowstone Lake began feeding on the natives more than a decade ago. Since then, in the lake and elsewhere in the park, nonnative fish have been targeted for removal. On small streams that has meant using poison to remove planted species like brook trout and rainbow trout. The streams are then restocked with native fish like cutthroat trout and grayling. These projects have been controversial because some anglers like catching the nonnative fish. One of the most recent proposals by the Park Service is to remove rainbow trout from Buffalo Creek. This stream flows into Slough Creek. Both are tributaries to the Yellowstone River. To conduct its work, Yellowstone fisheries biologists have proposed poisoning rainbow trout in Buffalo Creek, in cooperation with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Custer Gallatin National Forest. That’s because much of the creek is outside of the park’s boundaries. So to be successful, work has to also take place in a portion of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. That proposal has met opposition because the forest and FWP have proposed using a helicopter to ferry in equipment. Machines are banned from wilderness except for specific exceptions. Providing a high-elevation home for Yellowstone cutthroat trout will be even more important as summers warm, the agencies argue, since species like trout are so sensitive to warming water temperatures. To learn more about the project, check out my story at https://billingsgazette.com/outdoors/yellowstone-national-park-rainbow-trout-cutthroat-trout/article_5fe4147c-2d77-11ee-84a1-1f4f5af7f63a.html?utm_campaign=snd-autopilot&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook_Montana_Untamed&fbclid=IwAR2NlCjOpR8KBmHWXXFrnDVAaK3nLaFupkJ13sdJxCelYtN0f9uelFtBn2A.
Written by Brett French | Outdoors editor | Billings Gazette Communications