VERNAL — Reader Creek was closed off Tuesday as state wildlife officials prepare to conduct a final rotenone treatment. They're doing so in an effort to assist native Colorado River cutthroat trout populations in northeastern Utah.
The creek was closed off from Reader Lakes downstream to the creek’s junction with the Whiterocks River. U.S. Forest Service officials said land 30 feet adjacent to the creek will be off-limits to the public for safety reasons. The closure is expected to remain in place until Saturday.
Rotenone is a substance that comes from tropical plant roots in the bean family. It’s not dangerous to people, pets or wildlife, but it’s poisonous to fish, and thus used by biologists to treat streams, Utah Division of Wildlife officials said. Wildlife biologists will add the substance to the creek on Wednesday.
In 2018, wildlife biologists conducted a similar process to Reader and Lynn creeks, as well as other places in the state. They say it’s done to kill off predators of the fish that may be struggling to populate in a certain waterway. Wildlife officials said it’s the final rotenone treatment scheduled for Reader Creek in an attempt to help the Colorado River cutthroat trout species native to the area.
“We’re conducting Colorado River cutthroat trout restoration activities across the fish’s native range. The activities will protect the species, while also providing people with great areas to fish for these native fish,” said DWR regional sportfish biologist Bryan Engelbert in a statement.
Wildlife officials said they also plan to use rotenone in five lakes and connecting streams in the North Slope area of the Uinta Mountains over the course of the next few weeks. Each is meant to help restore the Colorado River cutthroat trout.
- Lower Potter Lake — Sept. 3
- Upper Potter Lake — Sept. 3
- Lower Teepee Lake — Sept. 3
- Mystery Lake (also called Lost Lake) — Sept. 9
- GR-31 (also known as Lily Pad Lake) — Sept. 10-11