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The Most Invasive Species

I read with interest the recent story by Brett French Barrier Proposed to Protect Cutthroat,” announcing Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks’ latest misguided plan to construct dams and dump poison into streams in Sweet Grass County.  It occurs to me that if anyone other than state fisheries biologists were building dams in natural streams or trying to eradicate every fish, amphibian, reptile, insect and macroinvertebrate from their natural habitats –  our community would be in an uproar.  Imagine for example that all this aquatic life was being impacted by a massive oil spill…or destroyed by a developer.

Unfortunately, our local community of anglers, conservationists, non-profits, and scientists has mostly been silent.  Instead, the quiet march of environmental destruction has continued across Montana – by plan with public funding. 

It is widely known that dams stop the migration of not just so-called “invasive species” but of all species of fish including those native to the stream system.  This is the reason that so many dam REMOVAL projects to restore rivers are going on across the U.S. today.   The poison (Rotenone) that MT FW&P continues to infer will somehow magically kill only the target non-native fish species continues to kill everything in its path, including in this case the very trout that this expensive and invasive program is by definition intended to “protect” and “restore.” 

Anyone doubting the significant collateral damage being caused by this brand of so-called “Native Fish Restoration” or the potential long-term impacts can read more at www.stopriverkilling.org or see a short documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CCPCrIJJts 

Montana’s streams, rivers and wetlands face many challenges today, but few so great as poorly conceived, extreme management techniques.  In this we are clearly the most invasive species.

To comment on the project, write MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Jeremiah Wood at P.O. Box 27, Fishtail MT 59028 or e-mail jrwood@mt.gov.

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