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Montana FWP asks for input on cutthroat trout conservation

Brook trout compete with cutthroats, which can lead to declines in cutthroat populations.
Jonny Armstrong
/
USGS
Brook trout compete with cutthroats, which can lead to declines in cutthroat populations.

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is requesting public comments on a proposed project to aid Yellowstone cutthroat trout conservation efforts.

The project is in the environmental assessment period and aims to remove invasive brook trout from the upper Shields River watershed.

Brook trout compete with cutthroats, which can lead to declines in cutthroat populations. The Upper Shields River watershed is at the northernmost end of Yellowstone cutthroat’s range, making it a crucial area for these high elevation trout.

To eradicate the brook trout, FWP would treat the waters with rotenone, a plant-derived chemical that is fatal to fish. FWP says this treatment is useful for managing invasive fish populations without jeopardizing aquatic ecosystems since the chemical compound breaks down quickly in water.

The public can meet with FWP staff over Zoom on June 16 at 5:30 p.m. Comments on the project will be accepted through June 23.

Ellis Juhlin is YPR's Statehouse reporter based in Helena.