Costly Yellowstone invasion
There's little hope of ridding Yellowstone Lake of its invading lake trout, says a report by the National Park Service. The illegally introduced lake trout, discovered by anglers in 1994, could diminish the native cutthroat trout population by 70 percent or more within 100 years. And by disrupting the food chain, the invasion could affect 42 other species that depend on the native fish for food, including grizzly bears, bald eagles, white pelicans and otters. "The ecological consequences of this development are truly frightening, and the public has had little time to absorb what the loss of this extraordinary fishery will mean to the ecosystem," says Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Mike Finley. There is a glimmer of hope: The report, The Yellowstone Lake Crisis: Confronting a Lake Trout Invasion, says there's a 50-50 chance that lake trout can be controlled with gill nets, traps and other methods, but only at a cost of $9 million over the next 30 years.
For a copy of the 36-page report, edited by John Varley and Paul Schullery, write Superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.