Get over your case of the Mondays with #TroutTuesday!

Editor’s note: This is entry #3 of an ongoing series looking at an incredible species of fish – the interior Redband trout – and a recently signed Conservation Agreement that will promote conservation of the species across six western states. As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service noted in their kick-off blog, we are initiating #TroutTuesday to honor an overlooked fish – the interior Redband trout – and an overlooked day of the week! Happy #TroutTuesday!


Redband trout (photo by Liz Mamer, Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

Redband trout

Redband Trout – A Fish Worth Protecting

Redband trout are remarkable fish. They occur in parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Nevada - some as freshwater fish and some as anadromous fish that occupy both fresh and saltwater habitats during different stages of their lives. Within this broad area, redband trout habitat can vary from higher elevation cold-water mountain streams to lower elevation warmer desert-type streams with periods of low stream flows and high water temperatures. These fish are tough - but they still need our help. Habitat for the interior redband trout has declined 42 percent from its historical range – down from 60,295 kilometers of stream and 152 lakes to just 26,000 kilometers of stream and 124 lakes.


Redband trout (photo by Liz Mamer, Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

Redband trout

The Power of Partnership

Six states, four federal agencies, five tribal governments and one non-governmental organization signed a Conservation Agreement in July of this year, agreeing to work together to conserve and protect habitat for this unique trout. The Conservation Agreement for interior redband trout is an example of the power of a partnership among state and federal fish and wildlife agencies and tribal nations that has been ongoing since 2009. Western Native Trout Initiative is proud to have been involved in the partnership, convening 13 workshops to complete a comprehensive status review for redband trout in partnership with the state fisheries agencies of California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and 11 tribal nations, as well as representatives from private companies. The project was funded through a grant from the National Fish Habitat Action Plan and matching funds from the partnering organizations through the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. When the entire project was complete, the final results involved the expertise of upwards of 95 biologists and ArcGIS technical experts, and 15 data entry personnel.

Protecting this fish is a big job and we congratulate all our partners!

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Determines ESA Protection for the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout is Not Warranted

After review of the best available scientific and commercial information, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) found that listing the Rio Grande cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii virginalis) under the Endangered Species Act is not warranted at this time. Therefore, the Service will remove this subspecies from the candidate list.

The Service found that the Rio Grande cutthroat trout is not in danger of extinction throughout its range or in a significant portion of its range now, nor is it likely to become so in the foreseeable future. However, the Service is asking the public to submit any new information that becomes available concerning the status of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout at any time.

This finding is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS-R2-ES-2014-0042. View the press release here:
http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/pressrel/2014/10012014_ServiceDeterm...

Upper Missouri River Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the Arctic grayling does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)

The Western Native Trout Initiative includes Arctic Grayling in the lower 48 states and Alaska as one of the species we include in our conservation efforts.

MONTANA – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its finding on August 20, 2014, that the Upper Missouri River Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the Arctic grayling does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service reached this conclusion after analyzing the significant conservation efforts carried out by private landowners as well as federal and state agency partners to improve conditions for Arctic grayling in the Upper Missouri River basin. These efforts have helped bring the species to the point that it is not in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future, i.e., does not meet the definition of an endangered or threatened species under the ESA.

Private landowners in the Big Hole and Centennial valleys worked through a voluntary Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) to achieve significant conservation of grayling within its range. Since 2006, over 250 conservation projects have been implemented under the CCAA to conserve Arctic grayling and its habitat, including: riparian fencing, irrigation flow reductions, improved irrigation infrastructure, fish ladders, improved stock water systems, and both passive and active stream restoration. Habitat quality has improved and grayling populations have more than doubled since the CCAA began in 2006.

For more information: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/pressrel/2014/08192014_ArcticGraylin...

WNTI announces 2014 grant recipients

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) received 33 applications for 2014 funding in a very competitive funding cycle. Thank you to everyone who submitted an application, we appreciate your efforts to conserve western native trout! Congratulations to the following successful projects:


Whitewater-Baldy Gila trout habitat assessment, New Mexico

Yankee Run Creek (Coquille River) LWD restoration for Coastal cutthroat trout, Oregon

Sun Creek historic channel reconnection to improve Bull trout and Redband trout habitat, Oregon

Clear Creek Bonneville cutthroat trout restoration project, Utah

For more information on all of these projects, please see the WNTI August 2014 Web News or click on the Projects page.