The Quartz Creek Fish Barrier Modification and Improvement Project was recently completed on Quartz Creek to prevent additional non-native fish from reaching Quartz Lake. The barrier is located approximately six miles from the nearest trailhead and lies between Lower and Middle Quartz Lakes. The project took seven days to complete.
Glacier National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright said, "Completion of this project represents a significant step in our continued native fish conservation efforts in the Quartz Creek drainage."
The remote location of Quartz Creek was a challenging aspect of the project. Park employees used hand tools for construction of the barrier in the backcountry. Quartz Lake is located in the North Fork of the Flathead River drainage and is home to some of the strongest remaining migratory bull and westslope cutthroat trout populations remaining on the west side of the park. A fish passage barrier was partially constructed in 2004 to keep lake trout out of Quartz Lake, but lake trout were subsequently detected in the lake in 2005. The park halted construction of the barrier until lake trout status and removal options could be better assessed. A National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey cooperative experimental lake trout suppression project was initiated in 2009.
An environmental analysis was conducted and released for public comment in February 2012. In May 2012, after review of environmental impacts and public comment, no significant impact was found and a decision was signed by the National Park Service Intermountain Regional Director to move forward on the project.
Planning and completion of the fish barrier project was supported by the Glacier National Park Fund and Flathead Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
The park is considering other native fish conservation projects in the North Fork of the Flathead River drainage and the planning process is underway for a fish passage barrier on Akokala Creek and additional lake trout suppression efforts on Quartz and Logging Lakes.
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