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Forest Service Approves Fish Stocking Project On The Blackfoot River

Westslope cutthroat trout.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

The U.S Forest Service has approved a project that will stock the North Fork of the Blackfoot River with westslope cutthroat trout as population numbers for the native fish decline.

The North Fork of the Blackfoot River is in the Scapegoat Wilderness, which spans portions of the Lolo and Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forests. Westslope cutthroat trout are native to the area, but federal officials say their populations have declined due to habitat degradation, climate change and hybridization with non-native rainbow trout.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will carry out the project in two phases. First, non-native species will be removed, then westslope cutthroat trout will be stocked over the next one to six years. The project could begin as soon as this summer.

Aaron Bolton is Montana Public Radio's Flathead Valley reporter.