Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) issued a decision notice to move forward, in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), on pilot investigations for a potential native trout restoration project on the North Fork Blackfoot River.
The objectives of the pilot study are to estimate current distribution of hybridized trout and to calculate the volume and placement of the fish toxin, rotenone, that would be required to remove existing nonnative hybrid fish from the river and tributaries.
The study is planned for a few select streams in the East Fork of the North Fork Blackfoot River on the Helena National Forest, within the Scapegoat Wilderness.
Results of the pilot could be used to guide planning for the project’s next phase, which would include removal of the nonnative hybrid trout, followed by planting of native westslope cutthroat and bull trout into the area. Next steps would involve a draft environmental analysis with opportunity for public comment.
The potential fish restoration site is located upstream of North Fork Falls on the North Fork Blackfoot River. This location provides a unique, isolated spot that is good habitat for native bull and westslope cutthroat trout and would be protected from recolonization from other non-native fish.
To review the decision notice, go to the FWP web site at fwp.mt.gov and follow links under “news,” then “recent public notices,” and “decision notices.”
To view the USFS information related to this proposal, go to www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=53855.