Local group wants to protect endangered bull trout in Naches - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local group wants to protect endangered bull trout in Naches

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NACHES, WA - This Labor Day Weekend, many will visit some very popular lakes in Naches. Before you head out, though, a non-profit wants you to be aware of an endangered fish species living in those water.

Mid-Columbia Fisheries Bull Trout Task Force is protecting the Yakima Basin native bull trout.

"Bull trout play a very important role in the ecosystem in which they live," said Cassandra Weekes, Bull Trout Task Force project manager. "They help keep prey populations in check and also balance out the food web."

Weekes and her bull trout task force have informed about 500 people since June. Their primary targets are anglers at Rimrock and Clear Lake. Teaching people how to identify this trout is key to its survival.

"Bull trout specifically have an olive green body, with lighter spots that can be yellow or green or a pink color and even a pale color, a clear dorsal fin," said Weekes.

One of the biggest threats to the bull trout are rock dams. This summer, more than 100 rock dams created by visitors have been removed from the Naches area.

"Dams like this can be built in an afternoon and can block an entire year of spawning," Weekes explained. "When bull trout are migrating upstream they can be a passage barrier, in low flow conditions."

Rock dam hot spots are mapped and monitored. Signs are also posted to notify visitors, but that doesn't stop people.

"We've removed about 20 of them recently; sometimes we can remove 10 in a day," said Weekes.

The group will continue with their efforts through the rest of summer in hopes of educating many more.