Biology, status, and management of the yellowstone cutthroat trout

North American Journal of Fisheries Management



Yellowstone cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri were historically distributed in the Yellowstone River drainage (Montana and Wyoming) and the Snake River drainage (Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and probably Washington). Individual populations evolved distinct life history characteristics in response to the diverse environments in which they were isolated after the last glaciation. Anthropogenic activities have resulted in a substantial decline (42% of the historical range is currently occupied; 28% is occupied by core [genetically unaltered] populations), but the number of extant populations, especially in headwater streams, has precluded listing of this taxon under the Endangered Species Act. Primary threats to persistence of Yellowstone cutthroat trout include (1) invasive species, resulting in hybridization, predation, disease, and interspecific competition; (2) habitat degradation from human activities such as agricultural practices, water diversions, grazing, dam construction, mineral extraction, grazing, timber harvest, and road construction; and (3) climate change, including an escalating risk of drought, wildfire, winter flooding, and rising temperatures. Extirpation of individual populations or assemblages has led to increasing isolation and fragmentation of remaining groups, which in turn raises susceptibility to the demographic influences of disturbance (both human and stochastic) and genetic factors. Primary conservation strategies include (1) preventing risks associated with invasive species by isolating populations of Yellowstone cutthroat trout and (2) connecting occupied habitats (where possible) to preserve metapopulation function and the expression of multiple life histories. Because persistence of isolated populations may be greater in the short term, current management is focused on isolating individual populations and restoring habitats; however, this approach implies that humans will act as dispersal agents if a population is extirpated because of stochastic events.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Biology, status, and management of the yellowstone cutthroat trout
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1080/02755947.2011.608980
Volume 31
Issue 5
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosys Science Center
Description 31 p.
First page 782
Last page 812
Country United States
State Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming
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