Park moving forward with fish preservation project

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A plan to expand the native fish population in the Camas Drainage of Glacier National Park is moving forward.

Last week, The NPS Intermountain Regional Director signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the park’s Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout Preservation in the Upper Camas Drainage Environmental Assessment (EA). The FONSI is the final decision document for the project before the operation can begin.

The plan proposes to use rotenone, a fish toxicant, to remove non-native Yellowstone cutthroat trout from Lake Evangeline, Camas Lake, and Camas Creek upstream of Arrow Lake in the park’s upper Camas drainage.

Biologists would then gather any fish carcasses that are left onshore and would either sink them in Camas and Evangeline or remove them entirely to avoid attracting bears.

Once the non-native fish are removed, the areas will be restocked with native westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout.

The environmental assessment evaluated the possible impact to other native fish and other aquatic species as well as common loons and other water birds, grizzly bears, visitor use and experience and recommended wilderness and natural soundscapes and found there is no potential for significant adverse impacts.

According to a park press release, the project is necessary to protect native westslope cutthroat trout against hybridization with non-native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, and to protect westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout against habitat degradation occurring because of a changing climate.

The project will be conducted with the help of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and should begin late this summer.

The EA and FONSI are available on the National Park Service Planning, Environment & Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectId=84674.

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