Proposal to Conduct Lake Trout Removal on Logging Lake

By Beacon Staff

Another proposal for lake trout removal is in the early stages, this time in a lake once considered the most productive bull trout fishery in Glacier National Park.

Park officials announced the beginning of public comment for a proposal to conduct lake trout removal on Logging Lake and continue lake trout suppression on Quartz Lake. This is the first step of the environmental assessment process. Public comment is open until Sept. 10.

Logging Lake has been identified as a high priority for bull trout conservation. Invasive non-native lake trout are threatening bull trout and bioligists are proposing to reduce the size of the lake trout population. Also, as a conservation measure to protect Logging Lake’s few remaining native population, bull trout would be translocated within the drainage and bull trout and/or eggs would be collected from the lake and raised in a conservation rearing facility for release back into the lake to boost the population.

Additionally, the park is proposing to continue lake trout removal effort in Quartz Lake, which is currently approved through 2012. Biologists claim that continuing the project is necessary to keep lake trout numbers low and to remove juvenile lake trout that have not yet grown large enough to be caught by the sampling gear. Under continuation of the program, removal efforts on Quartz Lake would occur every year with periodic re-evaluation.

Four alternatives to the current proposal have been identified. The first includes conducting experimental lake trout removal and restoring a viable bull trout population at Logging Lake using multiple approaches, such as translocating bull trout and releasing conservation facility-reared bull trout within the drainage. The second alternative includes continuing lake trout suppression on Quartz Lake. Another alternative includes combining the first two alternatives. Not conducting lake trout removal at Logging Lake and halting efforts at Quartz is the fourth alternative.

In 2005, lake trout were detected in Quartz Lake, an important stronghold for bull trout and other native fish. In 2009, Glacier National Park and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began an experimental project to reduce or eliminate lake trout from Quartz Lake. Results from the project are promising, and the effort is anticipated to eventually reduce the size of the lake trout population in Quartz Lake.

Glacier National Park contains roughly one-third of the nation’s bull trout populations inhabiting natural lakes, meaning lakes without dams. Bull trout are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and, in many areas, are increasingly at risk from invasive non-native species, including lake trout. On the west side of Glacier, lake trout have already invaded nine of the 12 accessible lakes. Lake trout have replaced bull trout as the top level aquatic predator in the majority of lakes being monitored.

The public scoping brochure contains additional information about this project and is available online. Comments can be posted to this website or mailed to Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: Logging/Quartz EA, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, Mont., 59936.

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