4 thoughts on “Why Yellowstone officials are poisoning its rivers

  1. Year 2016 marked the second consecutive year that some Yellowstone cutthroat trout were salvaged from the rotenone poisoning project in Soda Butte Creek while the non-native brook trout were killed. No rainbows or obviously hybrid cuttbows were found. Estimates from fisheries biologists say that just two (2) brook trout were found and killed in 2016; down from 450 in 2015. Only 1,000 native Yellowstone cutthroat trout were salvaged in 2016; down from 3,000 in 2015. 800 hatchery raised Yellowstone cutthroat trout were then stocked in 2016. Insect counts from 2015 show a drastic decrease in mayflies and a dramatic increase in caddis. The 2016 insect counts are not yet documented.

  2. Lord protect us from every angler who is deluded into thinking he’s an aquatic entomologist and disturbance ecologist. Regarding this tragic crash in mayflies, which species were affected? How long after treatment were the samples collected? What does it mean, other than mayflies were less abundant? Same with the decrease in fish numbers – how long will this last? Do you know how many eggs a ripe female cutthroat trout carries? Well, depends on her length of course, but hundreds is typical. Do you know how the fish returned to Soda Butte Creek will respond? By eating the banquet of invertebrates that explode first in numbers, then in diversity. The fish will grow like crazy and make lots of babies. And the Cutthroat Trout will no longer be threatened by brook trout, and if you don’t believe brook trout are a real. dire. threat to cutthroat trout, then you’re a worse fish biologist than aquatic entomologist and disturbance ecologist. For your edification, the following citations are research into disturbance in streams and response of invertebrate communities. Spoiler alert: bugs get smacked down, but recover. Always.

    Anderson, N.H. and J.B. Wallace. 1984. Habitat, life history, and behavioral adaptations of aquatic insects. Pages 38-58 in R.W. Merritt and K.W. Cummins (eds.), An introduction to the aquatic insects of North America. 2nd ed. Kendall/Hunt Publishing, Dubuque, Iowa.

    Boulton, A.J., C.G Peterson, N.B. Grimm, and S.G. Fisher. 1992. Stability of an aquatic macroinvertebrate community in a multiyear hydrologic disturbance regime. Ecology. 73 (6):2192-2207.

    Niemi, G. J., P. DeVore, N Detenbeck, D. Taylor, A. Lima, J. Pastor,J. D. Yount R. J. Naiman. 1990 Overview of case studies on recovery of aquatic systems from disturbance 14:571-587.

    Yount, J. D. and G. J. Niemi. 1990. Recovery of lotic communities and ecosystems from disturbance – A narrative review of case studies. Environmental Management 14:547-569.

    Lepori, F. and N. Hjerdt. 2006. Disturbance and aquatic biodiversity: Reconciling contrasting views BioScience 56:809-818.

    Adams, S. M., M. G. Ryon, J. G. Smith. 2005. Recovery in diversity of fish and invertebrate communities following remediation of a polluted stream; investigating causal relationships. Hydrobiologia 542:77-93.

    Lake, P. S. 2000. Disturbance, patchiness, and diversity in streams. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 19:573:592.

    Wood, L. M., E. G. biro, M. Yang, and K. G. Smith. 2016. Does regional diversity recover after disturbance? A field experience in constructed ponds PeerJ2016

    McCabe, D. J. and N. J. Gotelli. 2000. Effects of disturbance frequency, intensity, and area on assemblages of stream macroinvertebrates. Oecologica 124:270-279.

    Brooks, S. S. and A. J. Boulton. 1991. Recolonization dynamics of benthic macroinvertebrates after artificial and natural disturbances in an Australian temporary stream. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 42:295-308

    1. Well Eric M, what are the biologists in YNP finding in Soda Butte Creek now? What are the latest fish counts and insect counts?

  3. You’ll have to ask the Park Service biologists, but unless the ecological functions that drive recovery and recolonization of stream communities are magically suspended in Soda Butte Creek, it should be close to or better than it was pre-rotenone by now. Have you ever taken a course in ecology, fish biology, stream ecology, or aquatic entomology? It seems like you haven’t.

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