Glacier National Park workers recently completed work on the Quartz Creek Fish Barrier.
The barrier work is designed to prevent additional non-native fish from reaching Quartz Lake, according to a news release from Glacier Park.
The barrier between Lower and Middle Quartz Lakes is located approximately 6 miles from the nearest trailhead. The project took seven days to complete.
Glacier National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright said, “Completion of this project represents a significant step in our continued native fish conservation efforts in the Quartz Creek drainage.”
The remote location of Quartz Creek was challenging; park employees used hand tools to build the barrier in the backcountry.
Quartz Lake is in the North Fork of the Flathead River drainage and is home to some of the strongest remaining migratory bull and westslope cutthroat trout populations remaining on the west side of the park.
A fish barrier was partially constructed in 2004 to keep lake trout out of Quartz Lake, but lake trout were subsequently detected in the lake in 2005.
The park halted construction of the barrier until lake trout status and removal options could be better assessed. A National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey lake trout suppression project was initiated in 2009.
The park is considering other native fish conservation projects in the North Fork of the Flathead River drainage and the planning process is underway for a fish passage barrier on Akokala Creek and additional lake trout suppression efforts on Quartz and Logging Lakes.
Planning and completion of the fish barrier project was supported by the Glacier National Park Fund and Flathead Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited.