Monitoring of the Hybridization Status of Native Cutthroat Trout in the Kootenay Watershed-Peter Corbett
Westslope cutthroat trout are currently listed as a species at risk due to hybridization with non-native rainbow trout. TUC initiated a long term monitoring program to determine the extent of the hybridization and if it is changing over time. Over the past 10 years, TUC has determined that levels of hybridization are increasing in a number of streams,with models demonstrating that it is highly probable that extirpation (removal)of certain populations will occur within 20 years.
The most affected streams are those tributaries to the Koocan usa Reservoir, where the majority of the rainbow trout stocking occurred. TUC identified Sand Creek as a candidate stream for a trial adult rainbow trout removal to reduce hybridization. If this project is successful, TUC will attempt to initiate similar projects within the watershed to conserve the native trout.