Fish restoration work planned for Long Draw and Sculpin Creek
Removing unwanted fish in the Big Sandy River drainage
by Wyoming Game & Fish
September 14, 2015
Fish managers with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will be removing non-native fish species from Long Draw and Sculpin Creek in the Big Sandy River drainage north of Farson September 14-18, 2015. As a result, managers are suggesting outdoor enthusiasts help by planning to avoid Long Draw and Sculpin Creek during that week.
Green River Fisheries Supervisor Robb Keith says the treatments are targeting white suckers and other non-native fish. "G&F personnel will apply rotenone, a chemical that is toxic to gilled animals such as fish, but is not harmful to humans, livestock or other wildlife at the concentrations used to kill fish," says Keith. "These treatments are the first in a series of treatments designed to rehabilitate three native non-game species: bluehead suckers, flannelmouth suckers and roundtail chubs that are collectively referred to as the Three Species."
The Three Species are a species of concern in Wyoming and in the Colorado River drainage states south of Wyoming. The planned treatments are the first in a series of treatments that will help maintain pure population of flannelmouth suckers and bluehead suckers in the Big and Little Sandy drainages.
Fish managers will be treating the entire length of each tributary at one time. This will be done using the piscicide rotenone. This chemical has been used successfully in many stream restoration efforts and has proven highly effective at removing unwanted fish species from aquatic systems with no harmful effects to other plants and animals.
Sculpin Creek, a tributary to the Big Sandy River, contains non-native white suckers, burbot and other non-native non-game fish. Long Draw is a tributary to Little Sandy Creek, which also holds non-native white suckers and other non-native non-game fish. Biologists assert non-native suckers are particularly harmful to native suckers populations because they readily hybridize with them.
"Bluehead suckers, flannelmouth suckers and roundtail chub historically occupied most of the upper Green River watershed in Wyoming," Keith says. "Populations of flannelmouth suckers, bluehead suckers and roundtail chubs have declined in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The six states have developed a range-wide conservation agreement and strategy with the goal of ensuring the persistence of roundtail chub, bluehead sucker and flannelmouth sucker populations throughout their ranges. Western fisheries managers are doing their best to stay proactive in the management of these three species in order to keep them from being petitioned for listing under the Federal Endangered Species Act."
As a reminder, Long Draw and Sculpin creeks should be considered closed to all water activities during the treatment period from September 14 through September 18. If you were planning to recreate in either tributary during this time, please consider an alternate location.
For more information about the Three Species Restoration Project on Long Draw and Sculpin creeks, please contact Wyoming Game and Fish Green River Fisheries Biologist John Walrath at 1-800-843-8096 or 307-875-3223.