The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 42 - 6/15/00
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G&F Wants to Remove Nonnative Trout from Section of LaBarge Creek
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is proposing to remove all nonnative trout from a 56-mile section of LaBarge Creek. The goal is to restore a healthy, self-sustaining, fishable population of Colorado River cutthroat trout, the native trout, to this section of the creek.
In December 1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received a petition to list the Colorado River cutthroat trout under the Endangered Species Act. These trout are the only salmonid native to the Green River drainage and once were abundant in the Green River and its tributaries. The G&F-proposed project would result in the protection and expansion of waters suitable for native cutthroat trout populations.
Hilda Sexauer, Fisheries Biologist with the Pinedale G&F office, is coordinating the 7-year project. The restoration will occur in the section of LaBarge Creek and its tributaries upstream from Big Fall Creek.
Ms. Sexauer says the nonnative trout in these waterways are primarily brook trout, with a few rainbows. The work will begin with the drainages and tributaries which flow into LaBarge Creek. Work on a specific waterway will begin with electroshocking, after which the Colorado River cutthroat trout will be removed and transported to another waterway. The nonnative trout which have been shocked will be destroyed, after which the waterway will be chemically treated to remove any nonnative trout which avoided electroshocking.
The G&F will then construct upstream fish migration barriers on the waterway to prevent nonnative trout from inhabiting the waters above the barrier. The tributary barriers will be removed and the streams will be reconnected with the mainstem LaBarge Creek after nonnatives have been successfully removed. The removal of the tributary barriers is anticipated for year 2007.
The G&F is also considering constructing a barrier site above the confluence of Big Fall Creek and LaBarge Creek.
According to the department, ultimately the project would open approximately 56 stream miles that will be occupied by Colorado River cutthroat trout and other native nongame species.
According to the department, the current populations of Colorado River cutthroat trout are threatened by competition and hybridization from nonnative salmonids within this project area. It believes the construction of the barriers and the removal of nonnatives will be major factors in eliminating threats from nonnative trout.
Public meetings on the LaBarge watershed Colorado River cutthroat trout restoration project will be held in Pinedale (Sublette County Library, June 21 at 7 p.m.) and Big Piney -Marbleton Fire Hall, June 22 at 7 p.m. For more information on the proposed project, please attend the public meeting or contact Ron Remmick, Regional Fish Supervisor (307-875-3225 ext. 229) or Hilda Sexauer, Fisheries Biologist (307-367-4353). The G&F will accept comments regarding this proposed project until July 7, 2000.
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