Project aims to clear out nonnative species from Utah native fish haven


It wasn’t long ago that the Clear Creek drainage area north of the Tushar Mountains in Sevier County was a haven for native fish such as Bonneville cutthroat trout.

Michael Hadley, an aquatics biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said it became the largest stream in the state to feature only native fish after biologists completed a four-year rehabilitation project in 2014. But between habitat loss, breeding with and competition from nonnative trout — including rainbow trout and rainbow-cutthroat trout hybrids — those native fish species are once again struggling.

That’s why the division is again planning to conduct rotenone treatments in parts of Clear Creek and Fish Creek in an effort to help restore the region’s native fish population. The area is set to be at least the third Utah location that will receive rotenone treatment this year. The substance, which comes from the roots of a tropical plant, is toxic to fish but considered harmless for people, pets or other wildlife when used properly.

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