Agencies team up to remove rainbow trout from Slough Creek tributary

The long-term goal is to establish a pure population of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and the Custer Gallatin National Forest are seeking public comment on plans to remove rainbow trout from the Buffalo Creek watershed north of Yellowstone National Park to protect the genetic integrity of native cutthroat trout in park rivers.

The project, scheduled for August 2021, would include application of chemicals by FWP to remove fish from the Buffalo Creek drainage from its headwaters in the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness downstream to the Yellowstone Park boundary. The National Park Service would continue treatment within Yellowstone National Park from its boundary downstream to the confluence of Buffalo Creek and Slough Creek.

The project would protect the genetic integrity of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the Lamar River basin by removing non-native rainbow trout from the Buffalo Creek tributary. It also would allow FWP to establish a secure population of non-hybridized Yellowstone cutthroat trout in Buffalo Creek.

Rainbow trout would be removed using rotenone — a naturally derived, commonly used substance in fish restoration efforts that is toxic to gill-breathing animals, such as fish and aquatic invertebrates. Rotenone breaks down quickly in the aquatic environment and the project design would ensure that downstream areas outside of the treatment area would not be affected.

FWP would work to establish native Yellowstone cutthroat trout (pictured above) in the treated streams. Aquatic invertebrate populations typically recover within a year after treatment.

Read the full draft of the environmental assessment here. Comments will be accepted by FWP through noon April 21, 2021.

Comments can be emailed to: Please use the subject line “Buffalo Creek Project.” Comments also can be mail to:

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Attn: Buffalo Creek Project

2300 Elmo Lake Drive

Billings, MT 59105

By Trout Unlimited Staff.