Friday, February 19, 2021

Yellowstone cutthroat comeback

Many stories about troublesome exotic species are tragedies. Some of the endings have been written: an exotic fungus wiped out the American Chestnut and brown tree snakes have driven more than half of Guam’s birds and lizards to extinction. Other stories are long-running dramas: water hyacinth clogs waterways in the southeast U.S. and Mediterranean fruit flies damage fruits, nuts, and vegetables around the world.
My latest article, The Cutthroat Comeback in Big Sky Journal, is an inspiring fish tale of gaining ground against a troublesome exotic species. Lake trout are large and efficient predators that eat native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Yellowstone National Park is using population modelling and commercial gillnetters to reduce lake trout numbers in Yellowstone Lake, while researchers develop effective methods for controlling lake trout eggs. With the help of their friends, the native cutthroat trout are reclaiming their high, cold home waters.