Many of you read our last post about Yellowstone Lake and the effort to save the Yellowstone cutthroat trout (YCT) population therein. As we wrote “opponents of the lake trout suppression efforts have made a number of claims that warrant a response.” We’re asking you to be part of that response by letting the Park Service know they have your support for the effort, including support for the removal of lake trout (LT) that threaten the YCT population. A minor but vocal few have criticized the National Park Service’s (NPS’s) actions to suppress lake trout via netting and ova suppression. They have suggested that the Park discontinue LT suppression in the name of ‘wild trout conservation’ (by which is meant, lake trout conservation in Yellowstone Lake). This would doom the majority of the remaining cutthroats in the system.
We are asking that you consider writing to Superintendent Daniel Wenk to voice your support for the efforts of the NPS (in conjunction with the USGS, TU, GYC and NPCA) to control the invasive LT in the system thus allowing the cutthroats to survive and repopulate.
Mail letters to:
Superintendent Daniel Wenk
Yellowstone National Park
P. O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
Please personalize your letter, especially include any past experiences that you may have had before LT invasion of the system (Yellowstone Lake and it’s tributaries including the upper Yellowstone River and the Thorofare River) and your desire to see the cutthroat population restored. We need to share what this system meant to the angling public before lake trout.
Points to consider could include:
1. The overall decline of YCT’s throughout their range (currently 43% of historical with ¼ of that suffering from hybridization). YL used to be the stronghold for the species with 4 million individuals, safe from climate change, habitat loss, development, hybridization. Current YCT populations are less than 10% of historical in the Lake.
2. The YCT is the only native trout to the YL system. The YL system was the single largest genetically pure remaining population of YCT’s anywhere. As such, it is a key population to the health of the species and needs our help to be recovered.
3. The YCT is the keystone species to an entire ecosystem. The decline in its population has impacted this entire ecosystem and some 40 other species.
4. The YCT in YL was a huge economic driver both as a popular sport fish but also a tourist draw to Fishing Bridge, Le Hardy Rapids, and elsewhere.
5. The LT is an invasive, no matter how it was introduced, that has not only decimated this YCT population but doesn’t fill the ecosystem needs that the YCT did. It is also not a replacement sport fish of the same caliber as the YCT.
6. The NPS is using the best available science, supported by a Science Review Panel of fisheries professionals from academia, governmental agencies, and non-governmental groups (TU, GYC and NPCA).
Overall, make your letter about your experience and not just a repeat of these points. For example, relate why you would or have visited Yellowstone specifically to fish for YCT’s or if you had a chance to witness the incredible spawning runs of cutthroat before the impact of lake trout. Or about why you would like to visit Yellowstone National Park with the YCT population restored. We need to show the value placed on this fishery the way it was by anglers like you who had a chance to know and love this incredible place and also by anglers who value the recovery of the Yellowstone Cutthroats to this system.
Thanks for your support of the Yellowstone cutthroat!