Wednesday, 20 June 2012 08:05
RICHFIELD — One of Utah's native fish, the Bonneville cutthroat trout, will soon be expanded throughout the Pole Creek drainage.
Located on the south end of the Pavant Range in Sevier County, Pole Creek is one of the primary tributaries of Clear Creek. Pole Creek originates near the Sevier-Millard county line and flows south for about 7 miles until it meets Clear Creek.
The entire length of Pole Creek lies within the boundaries of the Fishlake National Forest, while some portions of its tributaries—Skunk Creek, Grass Creek and Three Creeks—flow across private land. Currently, a small remnant population of Bonneville cutthroat trout live in the headwaters of Pole Creek, upstream from a natural barrier that prevents the fish from migrating.
The drainage above the Pole-Clear Creek confluence will be chemically treated with rotenone on June 26 to remove non-native fish before Bonneville cutthroat trout are stocked in the stream this fall. The area that will be treated includes approximately 7 miles of Pole Creek, beginning 0.9 miles upstream of its confluence with Skunk Creek and extending to the confluence with Clear Creek; Skunk Creek, from its confluence with Pole Creek upstream approximately 0.8 miles; Grass Creek, from its confluence with Pole Creek upstream approximately 0.5 miles; and Three Creeks, from its confluence with Pole Creek upstream to Three Creeks Reservoir, approximately 3.4 miles.
General plans to conduct native trout restoration projects were formalized in the "Conservation Agreement and Strategy for Bonneville Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki utah) in the state of Utah." Specific details of the Pole Creek project were outlined in the "Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for Native Trout Restoration and Enhancement Projects in Southwestern Utah."
Treatment on June 26
Liquid rotenone—Prentox Prenfish toxicant—will be applied to target waters using eight to ten 7-gallon drip barrels. The drips will be set on the morning of June 26 and will run through the afternoon. Depending on their location, most drips will run for three to eight hours to ensure that all the fresh water sources are treated at the same time.
Charges for drip stations are calculated to apply the 5 percent active ingredient liquid rotenone at a concentration of 1.5 parts per million in the target reach. Rotenone applied by backpack sprayers will be mixed at a ratio of approximately 8 ounces of 5 percent rotenone to 3 gallons of filtered water.
Potassium permanganate, an oxidizing agent, will be applied to treated waters just downstream of the Pole-Clear Creek confluence to deactivate the rotenone below the target area.
Although rotenone is relatively benign to humans, fish treated with the chemical have not been cleared for human consumption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Consequently, salvage of fish during the project will not be permitted.
Bonneville cutthroat trout will be transferred from the Pole Creek headwaters to the treated section in fall 2012. Similar restoration projects involving Utah's native trout are underway throughout the state as part of conservation strategies designed to keep the fish off the federal Endangered Species list.
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