News & Features

PODCAST: Fighting the Aquatic Invaders

Senior Writer Tristan Scott and USGS biologist Clint Muhlfeld discuss Glacier National Park's dramatic fish eradication proposal and the history of non-native fish in the latest Editor's Club podcast

NOTE: This is a free sample episode of Ask the Beacon, a podcast produced for members of the Flathead Beacon Editor’s Club and programmed based on their questions. The Editor’s Club was created in 2018 as a way for readers to financially support the Beacon’s mission of providing independent, in-depth, local coverage of the stories that matter most. To join the Editor’s Club and learn what other perks are available to members, visit

We’re talking about aquatic invasive species on this episode, at the suggestion of Editor’s Club member David Buckingham. David wrote in a couple weeks back after we published a story about Glacier National Park’s plan to preserve native trout in the waters of the Upper Camas Drainage. The dramatic proposal calls for the fish toxicant rotenone to be released in order to wipe out the non-native population, followed by the re-population of native species.

It caught David’s eye because non-native fish like lake trout are an invasive species, a term that has recently been reserved for the quagga and zebra mussels that threaten Montana’s waterways, and he asked us to talk about the long history of aquatic invasive species, not just mussels. That history dates back more than 100 years, and I brought in Senior Writer Tristan Scott and USGS research ecologist Clint Muhlfeld to talk about how we got here, about what has been done to mitigate invasive fish species and what, if any, lessons can be applied to the threat of invasive mussels.

You can play the podcast below, or download the podcast by clicking the download button (arrow pointing down) in the upper right corner.

To read more of Tristan’s coverage of aquatic invasive species, check out these stories:

Glacier Park Taking Comment on Native Trout Preservation | April 1, 2019

Preparing for the Worst (re: Invasive Mussels) | Sept. 20, 2018

Local Fish Researcher Urges ‘Global Action’ | June 12, 2018

The Battle for Bull Trout | March 21, 2017

Renewed Lake Trout Suppression Efforts Underway | March 26, 2015

A New Era of Bull Trout Recovery | Oct. 18, 2014

Connection Between Climate Change and Harmful Hybridization of Native Trout | May 25, 2014

To read more about Clint Muhlfeld, and to read some of the articles he’s published in a variety of scientific journals, here are some helpful links:

Clint’s USGS Bio

Flathead Lake Bio Station

The Judas Fish | Discover Magazine

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