Efforts to save America's rarest trout
Just released today....
Recovery Plan Out for Rarest U.S. Trout
Wed Jan 28,12:06 AM ET Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!
By DON THOMPSON, Associated Press Writer
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The government is proposing a recovery plan for "the rarest trout in America" that might include poisoning a stretch of Sierra Nevada creek in an attempt to rid the threatened fish of nonnative competitors.
The Paiute cutthroat trout is native only to part of upper Silver King Creek, which flows into the Carson River south of Lake Tahoe in California's remote Alpine County.
"It's only a nine-mile stretch, so this is the rarest trout in the world, or at least the U.S.," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Randi Thompson.
In cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game, the federal service wants to rid an 11-mile lower section of the creek of other fish so the Paiute cutthroat can return there as well.
That would help not only the native trout, but the rare mountain yellow-legged frog, which can be wiped out by nonnative fish, the service said in the half-million dollar recovery plan released Monday. It said habitat improvements also would benefit the rare Yosemite toad.
An environmental lawsuit last year prompted the U.S. Forest Service to block a state plan to poison the 11 miles below Llewellyn Falls, which form a natural barrier to the nonnative fish migrating upstream to the area where native Paiute cutthroat live.
The suit challenged the Forest Service's decision not to complete a federal environmental review duplicating the state's review. The service now plans to include the environmental concerns in a new review to be completed this summer, Thompson said.
The poison that would be used, Rotenone, is particularly controversial in the Sierra Nevada because the state has used it unsuccessfully in four past attacks on nonnative fish.
Paiute trout were transplanted about 100 years ago into four other California waterways where pure populations survive. The species was declared endangered in 1970, but was upgraded to threatened in 1975 in part to allow fishing.
Silver King Creek is the most accessible to anglers, one reason restoration of the creek has been made a priority by federal and state officials.