Beginning today, Yellowstone National Park (YNP) fisheries biologists will begin applying rotenone to the upper Gibbon River, eliminating stocked rainbow and brook trout to restore the region’s native westslope cutthroat and arctic grayling.
Our national parks are charged with restoring native species where possible, and where management can encourage their persistence on the landscape. In Montana, westslope cutthroat have been eliminated from all but about 2.5% of their native range, and most of what remains is small, headwater tributary streams that can only harbor small populations of the native species. Yellowstone populations of Arctic grayling represent the southernmost extent of their range, and have been all but extirpated from the park since the early 20th century. Restoring of such a large stretch of river marks serious improvement in the distribution and persistence of both species for future generations.