Group Sues to Block Cutthroat Conservation

December 2, 2023 By: Spencer Durrant


Photo: USFWS Mountain-Prairie

Conservation groups often sue against developments like mines, roads, or condos. I don’t recall a conservation group suing because fisheries managers want to add more wild, native fish to the landscape. But that’s what’s happened over in Yellowstone. Per a great story by Chris Hunt over in Hatch Magazine, Wilderness Watch is suing Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MFWP) over MFWP’s plan to introduce Yellowstone cutthroat in Buffalo Creek.

Buffalo Creek is a tributary of Slough Creek, which is one of the most famous cutthroat trout rivers in the world. Buffalo Creek runs through both the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and Yellowstone National Park.

Wilderness Watch, however, posits that since Buffalo Creek was historically fishless above a waterfall that acts as a natural barrier, MFWP shouldn’t plant cutthroat above that waterfall.

Wilderness Watch is out of line here, as they need to understand we’re running out of cold water habitat across the West. Any opportunity to shore up populations of genetically pure wild and native trout is one we should take.

You can read the rest of this story – along with Hunt’s nuanced take – here.