Fish Barrier Installed In Glacier National Park To Block Non-Native Fish From Reaching Quartz Lakes

A barrier has been installed to keep non-native fish from reaching Lower and Middle Quartz lakes in Glacier National Park. NPS photo of Lower Quartz Lake.

The Quartz Creek Fish Barrier Modification and Improvement Project in Glacier National Park was recently completed on Quartz Creek to prevent additional non-native fish from reaching Quartz Lake.

The barrier is located approximately six miles from the nearest trailhead and lies between Lower and Middle Quartz Lakes. The project took seven days to complete.

"Completion of this project represents a significant step in our continued native fish conservation efforts in the Quartz Creek drainage," said park Superintendent Chas Cartwright.

The remote location of Quartz Creek was a challenging aspect of the project and forced park employees to use hand tools for construction of the barrier in the backcountry.

Quartz Lake is located 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 passage 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 cooperative experimental 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.