Native Fish Conservation Project Starts This Week
Partner agencies and Glacier Conservancy donations are supporting the effort
West Glacier, MT – This week, Glacier National Park and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks will begin a native fish preservation project in the Upper Camas Drainage.
The initiative will use the fish toxicant rotenone to remove non-native Yellowstone cutthroat trout from Lake Evangeline, Camas Lake, and Camas Creek. The park will then translocate (stock) native westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout into the lakes.
Rotenone in Camas Creek will be neutralized with potassium permanganate downstream of the project area for several weeks following application, and Evangeline and Camas Lakes will neutralize naturally over the course of the fall.
The translocated native fish will be hatched from genetically pure species of fish from the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Sekokini Springs Native Fish Hatchery in Coram, and at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Creston National Fish Hatchery in Kalispell.
The project will protect native westslope cutthroat trout against hybridization with non-native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, and will protect westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout against habitat degradation occurring due to a changing climate.
The project area currently is closed to the public. The closure will continue through spring of 2020. The closed areas include Arrow and Camas Lake Backcountry Campgrounds, and the area upstream of Arrow Lake Backcountry Campground in the Camas Creek drainage. Hikers should abide by all trail and area closure signage.
The lakes will reopen to fishing following the restocking efforts, which may take several years to establish viable populations. Other lakes in the general vicinity will remain open to fishing during this time period.
Glacier National Park has an active native fish conservation program, and this project augments ongoing efforts in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey to restore bull trout at Logging and Quartz Lakes.
Glacier National Park Conservancy is supporting this current project with philanthropic donations, and has contributed in the past to a number of other fisheries projects that target native species, aquatic invasive species prevention, and water quality.
“Native fish are a significant, if often overlooked, puzzle piece in Glacier’s ecosystem,” said Glacier Conservancy Executive Director Doug Mitchell. “This project is another great example of the power of partnership. The Conservancy is very proud to come together with public and private partners, and state and federal agencies to help preserve Glacier's native fish for future generations through this innovative project."
The Bonneville Power Administration, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, and the National Park Service are providing additional funding for the project
The project follows a study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, and the National Park Service that evaluated the genetic status and conservation of native westslope cutthroat trout populations throughout the park. To learn more about the project, access the environmental assessment completed earlier this spring on the National Park Service Planning Website.