How will methods to suppress an invasive fish affect Yellowstone Lake water quality?
August 2022 - December 2025
- US Geological Survey
Yellowstone Lake has been the site of intensive efforts to conserve native Yellowstone cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri) and restore natural ecological function since invasive lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) were first discovered there in 1994 (Koel et al. 2020a). Lake trout are apex predators that have decimated native trout populations following introductions in several large western lakes (Martinez et al. 2009). The lake trout population of Yellowstone Lake is resilient to gillnetting probably because of high survival of early life stages. Our primary objective is to estimate the degree to which adding carcasses and pellets to lake trout spawning sites may alter the water quality of Yellowstone Lake, and estimate how these changes may affect algal biomass and lake primary production. The project is a collaboration of researchers across multiple agencies and includes the National Park Service and the University of Wyoming. The study will provide standard operating procedures for a water quality monitoring program so that Yellowstone National Park can continue collecting data to estimate changes into the future. The water quality monitoring program will be based on methods developed in this study and suggest the best procedures moving forward.