Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bull Trout Conservation Project in Glacier Has Been Approved

An environmental analysis and review process for a proposal to continue lake trout suppression on Quartz Lake and begin lake trout removal and bull trout conservation in the Logging Lake drainage in Glacier National Park’s North Fork District has been completed, and a decision was signed by the National Park Service Intermountain Regional Director to move forward with the project. The project is located in an area of recommended wilderness.

The beneficial effects to bull trout, a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, and other native fish will outweigh the negative impacts to wilderness character. The project will help protect the park’s bull trout populations, is in accordance with other state and federal projects designed to conserve native fish species in the Crown of the Continent ecosystem, and will help maintain Quartz and Logging Lakes as important, high elevation habitat for native fish faced with the stressors of a changing climate. Approximately one-third of the nation’s bull trout populations inhabiting natural, undammed lake systems are found in Glacier National Park, and the park has a critical role in the regional recovery and long-term conservation of the species. Quartz and Logging Lakes are at risk of losing their historically robust bull trout populations to non-native invasive lake trout.

The project will continue experimental efforts begun in 2009 in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to suppress the lake trout population in Quartz Lake and will begin lake trout suppression on Logging Lake.

An analysis of environmental impacts associated with the project and review of public comments on the proposal were considered before making a final decision. The environmental assessment was released for public review in December of 2013. Twenty five comment letters were received; twelve letters expressed support, six expressed opposition. Most of the concerns pertained to impacts to Glacier National Park’s recommended wilderness, as the project will include the use of motorboats for gill netting operations.

The EA and finding of no significant impact (decision document) can be found here.



Jeff
Hiking in Glacier National Park

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