Beginning August 28, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will be adding rotenone to several lakes and streams in the Eastern Uinta Mountains aimed at helping eliminate invasive species that threaten the populations of Colorado River Cutthroat trout.
Rotenone is a chemical derived from certain plant roots and it is lethal to fish and other gilled organisms. Rotenone is also widely used to manage invasive fish populations because it has minimal effects on humans and other wildlife, and it biodegrades rapidly.
“It is the best and most sure way to get a complete eradication of the non-native species we can’t have intermingling with cutthroat trout,” said Trina Hedrick, the UDWR northeastern region aquatics manager.
The Colorado River Cutthroat trout is a unique population of trout native only to the Uinta’s and other Colorado River tributaries. However, Hedrick said the rising populations of the Brook Trout and other invasive species are causing the cutthroat populations to dwindle. She said conserving these fish is a priority because of their cultural importance as a native species.
“It’s kind of our local heritage, if you think about it. These are our native trout and we do think that it is important enough to spend the money and time to do this work,” Hedrick said.
Once the rotenone treatment is added, Hedrick said the river will be open to the public within 1-2 weeks. After allowing the area to recover from the treatment, cutthroat trout will be restocked from nearby lakes temporarily storing them, as well as from cutthroat populations in the West Fork Duchesne River.
Hedrick said that for a couple of years, practicing catch-and-release fishing with these cutthroats will help their populations grow faster.
For more information, contact the UDWR Northeastern Region Office: 435-781-9453