Yellowstone National Park, in coordination with partner agencies Montana Fish, Wildlife &Parks, Wyoming Game &Fish Department and the U.S. Forest Service, is seeking public input on a proposed project to remove nonnative brook trout from Soda Butte Creek and reintroduce genetically pure Yellowstone cutthroat trout into the stream.
Removal of brook trout would occur by applying an EPA-approved piscicide (rotenone) to Soda Butte Creek upstream of Ice Box Canyon. The project would restore an important fishery in upper Soda Butte Creek and serve to protect cutthroat trout populations of the entire Lamar River watershed from future invasion by nonnative brook trout.
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.
Public comments are being collected until June 19, 2015, on the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website, http://parkplanning.nps.gov/YELLSBCFishRestoration. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is also accepting comments at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/environmentalAssessments/conservation/pn_0026.html.
This action is being considered under a documented categorical exclusion that would amend the Native Fish Conservation Plan/Environmental Assessment (EA) as the action qualifies under the previously documented and approved adaptive management framework of that plan/EA, with a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed on May 18, 2011.