The Hardier Fish: An Environmental History of Trout and Grayling Management in the Montana “Trout Paradise”

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Paul Sabin
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One key aspect of modern endangered species conservation involves the process of “rewilding”: reestablishing habitat for native species that have since been extirpated from their native habitat. In southwest Montana, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks have been attempting since the 1990s to reestablish river habitat for the native Westslope cutthroat trout and Montana arctic grayling, but have encountered community pushback over the eradication of non-native sport fish in historically native streams. This essay explores this social tension in fisheries management, first examining from a historical perspective how the fly fishing industry drove the widespread introduction of non-native sport fish into the Mountain West over the past century, and then exploring the ethical and social dimensions of current attempts to eradicate these introduced fish.