Blog: Salish and Kootenai Tribes aim to restore cutthroat trout

"On the west-facing foothills of the Mission Mountain Wilderness, about five miles east of Highway 93, lies a 40-acre parcel of land recently purchased by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Just a year ago, this piece of land was privately owned. A natural stream carved through the middle of the property, ending abruptly at a driveway where it was barricaded by a culvert.

After a tip from a friend, the landowners notified the tribe of the stream’s existence. Tribal biologists came out to investigate. They were looking for only one thing: a genetically pure specimen of the native westslope cutthroat trout.

Using an electro-shocker, the biologists zapped a small section of the stream with a weak charge. The stunned fish rose to the surface, giving researchers the chance to take a tiny sample from their fins. “I couldn’t believe the number of fish and their size when the guys showed them to me,” said the landowner, who, for reasons of privacy, asked not to be identified. “It’s such a small and thin stream, I never thought fish could be living in it.”

Once the DNA results came back positive, identifying the fish as pure breed, the tribes purchased the property."

Get the Story:
Russell Greenfield: Tribes use funds to restore westslope cutthroat trout (The Range Blog / High Country News 2/16)

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