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FWP seeks public comment on conservation projects

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State agency considers Yellowstone cutthroat trout conservation, Eurasian watermilfoil extermination

EBS STAFF

HELENA — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on two proposed conservation projects. One project would aid in protecting a native trout species from invasive predators, the other to eradicate an invasive aquatic plant species.

The first proposed project would aim to conserve native Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the Mill Creek watershed. The largest tributary to the Yellowstone River, Mill Creek’s headwaters is in the Absaroka Mountains. The project would remove brook trout—a competitor to native cutthroat trout—using electrofishing to prevent them from spreading to the Mill Creek headwaters.

The Yellowstone cutthroat trout in Mill Creek is a stronghold of a high elevation population at the northmost extent of the species’ range. Brook trout currently occupy areas in the creek and are a primary threat to headwaters populations of Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

An environmental assessment draft for the proposed project can be found here.

The second proposal would use an herbicide treatment to eradicate Eurasian watermilfoil on 1.15 acres in Nilan Reservoir, west of Augusta. EWM was found in the area and treated with herbicides in the fall of last year but failed to fully eradicate the plants.

EWM is considered a highly invasive species and has the potential to outcompete native aquatic plants. Additionally, EWM may have negative impacts on recreation access and irrigation, according to FWP. The herbicide would be applied in a small bay between two FWP boat ramps.

An environmental assessment draft for the proposed project can be found here.

The deadline for public comment on the Yellowstone cutthroat trout conservation project is August 5. Comments can be emailed to FWPfishcomments@mt.gov or mailed to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Attn: Mill Creek Yellowstone cutthroat trout conservation, P.O. Box 200701 Helena, MT 59620.

The deadline for public comment on the EWC eradication project is July 29. Comments can be emailed to FWPfishcomments@mt.gov or mailed to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Attn: Craig McLane, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620.

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