Montana Public Radio

Gov. Declares Invasive Species Emergency Over Yellowstone River Fish Kill

Aug 29, 2016

Governor Steve Bullock signed an executive order this morning announcing an invasive species emergency in Montana.

Wildlife officials closed 180 miles of the Yellowstone River just over a week ago after discovering a non-native parasite killing thousands of mountain whitefish and native trout.

The river closure hits the outdoor economy of Park County, just north of Yellowstone National Park, where about a quarter of all jobs are tourism related.

Jake Troyer with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry says the governor’s order provides needed assistance.

"There is an emergency fund that has been approved for $15.4 million dollars in workforce programs that people can turn to as we move through this unfortunate situation."

Troyer says people can learn if they qualify for that money by contacting the job services office in Livingston.

The governor's office says the state’s outdoor economy supports more than 64,000 jobs statewide.

Wildlife officials say there is no timeline for re-opening the river. The section of river inside Yellowstone National Park is still open.