YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — Yellowstone National Park (YNP) has shared photos of park crew carrying out the Soda Butte Creek Native Fish Restoration Project to remove newly discovered nonnative brook trout.
YNP announced the project earlier this month. Soda Butte Creek is closed from Aug. 14 to 18 so biologists can remove brook trout before they can displace native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, which are the only trout species native to the park.
According to YNP, cutthroat trout “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.”
Cutthroat trout will be held in the creek’s upper untreated tributaries. They will be released back into the creek once the brook trout have been removed.
According to the Park, brook trout could invade the entire Lamar River watershed and threaten the largest remaining population of Yellowstone cutthroat trout in existence.