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Bull trout recovery plan needs local input.
Nine of 17 local bull trout populations have disappeared
by LACEY JARRELL, Herald and News 6/3/15
     A recovery plan for one of the Basin’s most imperiled aquatic species is available for public comment.

   On Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released a comprehensive draft Recovery Unit Implementation Plan as part of a final recovery plan that will outline actions needed to recover bull trout.

   Draft implementation plans for the Klamath recovery unit and five other units are available for public comment until July 20.

   Nolan Banish, a fish biologist for the USFWS Klamath Falls office, said the agency is seeking from the public and professionals in other agencies any new information about threats to bull trout or its habitat.

   “If they have any new information about where bull trout might occur, that would be fantastic,” Banish said.

   He said new information about areas where invasive brown trout and bull trout co-occur will also be useful to wildlife managers.  


   All populations of bull trout within the contiguous United States were listed as a “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 1999. When the bull trout were listed, the species was estimated to have disappeared from approximately 60 percent of its historic range.


   The agency’s most recent five-year bull trout status review, completed in 2008, concluded the threatened ESA listing remained warranted.

   According to a news release, the goal of the Bull Trout Recovery Plan is to ensure stable populations of the species are geographically widespread within each of the six recovery units: the Klamath, Coastal, Columbia Headwaters, Mid-Columbia, Saint Mary and Upper Snake.

   The draft plans were developed   in collaboration with federal, tribal, state, private and other parties, the release said. Each plan identifies unit-specific conservation actions needed to address threats to bull trout, such as loss of habitat and passage barriers, competition and predation and effects of landmanagement   practices, such as road building.

   “We’re drawing on the extensive expertise and conservation efforts of our partners in preparing the draft implementation plans to ensure that primary threats to bull trout habitat are identified and addressed appropriately   ,” Mike Carrier, state supervisor for the Service’s Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office, said in a statement. The Idaho office leads the agency’s five-state planning effort.


   According to the draft plan, because nine of the 17 known bull trout populations in the Klamath Recovery Unit have disappeared and others are imperiled and require active management, fishery managers believe the species’ distribution needs to be substantially expanded before it can be considered to have met recovery goals.

   “To achieve recovery, we seek to add seven additional local populations distributed among each of the three core areas (two in the Upper Klamath Lake core area, three in the Sycan core area, and two in the Upper Sprague core area),” the draft recovery plan stated.

   Banish said once the comment period closes, officials will review the public response and incorporate it into the final recovery plan.

    ljarrell@heraldandnews.com  ; @ LMJatHandN


   Chris Allen, right, from the U.S. Forest Service, and Patrick Barry, from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, reintroduce the first bull trout back to their home waters in the Clackamas River near Estacada in 2008. Federal officials are releasing a plan Thursday to recover struggling bull trout populations in five Western states.



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