Thursday, September 01, 2016

Yellowstone River Closed

Montana officials closed a section of the once pristine Yellowstone River to recreation last week due to a fish kill.  A parasite is believed to be responsible for killing salmonid fish in the river.  Tetracapsuloides bryosalmonae causes fish to die of kidney disease.  State officials also admit the high water temperature and low flow have contributed to the extent of the die off since both of these conditions stress fish.  The decision to close part of the river to recreation was made to prevent the parasite from spreading down river and into Yellowstone National Park.  Montana's outdoor recreation industry contributes $6 billion annually to the state's economy.  Temporarily ending human activity in the river will give fish the best chance to recover, say wildlife officials.  Over 4,000 dead whitefish and smaller numbers of trout have been counted.  The closure will be re-evaluated every three days based on the latest test results and observations. Contact with dead fish by pets and humans should be avoided although the parasite is not known to cause disease in humans.  Regarding the closure, Montana's governor Bullock said, "We must be guided by science".  Amen to that, brother.