FWP fisheries biologist Jeremiah Wood of Fishtail said biologists will treat Fourmile Creek and the lower three miles of Meatrack Creek with rotenone, a fish toxin that will remove all fish from the streams. Later in September, biologists will plant native Yellowstone cutthroat trout in both streams.
Though rotenone at treatment concentrations poses no threat to people or animals, FWP is asking people to refrain from recreating in or drinking water from Fourmile Creek or the lower three miles of Meatrack Creek between Sept. 3 and 7.
Fourmile Creek runs out of Silver Lake on the west side of the upper Boulder River drainage and flows about seven miles before emptying into the Boulder River on the Gallatin National Forest. Meatrack Creek joins Fourmile Creek from the south about two thirds of a mile above the Boulder River. The trailhead leading to the two creeks is about 40 miles south of Big Timber near the end of the Forest Service road up the main Boulder River.
Yellowstone cutthroat trout are native to Montana. Their continued existence is threatened in many areas of the state by non-native brook, rainbow and brown trout, which compete for food and habitat and prey on young cutthroats. In addition, rainbow trout crossbreed with cutthroat trout and the resulting hybrid fish dilute the genetic purity of the native populations.
The project on Fourmile and Meatrack creeks is part of an ongoing project to remove rainbow trout and restore genetically pure native Yellowstone cutthroat trout in tributaries to the upper Boulder River. A long, steep cascade near the mouth of Fourmile Creek will inhibit rainbow trout from the Boulder River from repopulating the two treated creeks, Wood said.
Questions can be directed to Wood at 328-4594 in Fishtail or FWP Region 5 Fisheries Manager Ken Frazer in Billings at 247-2961.