No. 303, May 15, 2002

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CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
Biodiversity Activist No. 303
May 15, 2002
www.biologicaldiversity.org
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WESTERN NATIVE TROUT CAMPAIGN UPDATE

The Center for Biological Diversity, Pacific Rivers Council,
Biodiversity Associates, and Trout Unlimited have launched a
campaign to protect and restore all native trout species in the
western United States. Below are recent actions taken by the
Center to further trout conservation in OR, CA, AZ, and NM.

TROUT CHALLENGE STOPS OREGON ROADLESS TIMBER SALE

STEELHEAD TROUT PROTECTION EXTENDED IN CALIFORNIA

PLAN PRESENTED TO CONSERVE STEELHEAD, THOUSANDS OF OTHER
SPECIES, AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA'S MOUNTAIN WILDLANDS

COMMENTS NEEDED ON GILA TROUT RECOVERY PLAN

FREE WESTERN NATIVE TROUT POSTER AVAILABLE ONLINE

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TROUT CHALLENGE STOPS OREGON ROADLESS TIMBER SALE

The Willamette National Forest has withdrawn the Simco Timber
Sale because of mounting pressure over its effects on the
endangered bull trout. The sale would have logged 9.9 million
board feet of trees on 480 acres and reconstructed 32 miles of
roads. Much of the logging would have occurred on steep,
unstable slopes, and in a roadless area which is a key spawning
and rearing ground for bull trout.

The sale was opposed by the Center for Biological Diversity,
Oregon Natural Resources Council, and the Cascadia Wildlands
Project which formally threatened to sue the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service for approving the sale in December 2001. The
Service agreed to re-examine the sale, eventually rendering a
negative opinion which prompted the U.S. Forest Service to
cancel it rather than face legal opposition from the
environmental coalition.

STEELHEAD TROUT PROTECTION EXTENDED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

In response to years of public pressure including a lawsuit by
the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups, the
National Marine Fisheries Service announced on 5-01-02 that it
will expand the protected range of the endangered southern
California steelhead trout all the way to the Mexican border.

The southern steelhead were listed as an endangered species in
1997. But in order to avoid conflicts with coastal sprawl in Los
Angeles and San Diego Counties, and in contradiction to the
recommendation of its own scientists, the Fisheries Service
excluded all portions of the species' range south of Malibu
Creek from protective status. It also excluded all stream
reaches above impassible dams. Thus the protected southern
steelhead trout range stopped exactly where the political
conflicts started.

Southern California steelhead are a distinct population of a
species which occurs from Alaska to northern Baja California.
Like salmon, steelhead are born in freshwater streams, migrate
into the ocean where they spend most of their life, then migrate
back up the stream of their birth to spawn and die. Tens of
thousands of steelhead trout once returned from the Pacific
Ocean each year to spawn in southern California streams and
rivers. They comprised a major sport fishery. Dams, roads and
urban sprawl, however, have destroyed most of southern
California's coastal streams, decimating steelhead runs. Only a
few hundred fish remain today.

In addition to the Center, the steelhead lawsuit was filed by
California Trout, Environmental Defense Center, Friends of the
Santa Clara River, Heal the Bay, Institute for Fisheries
Resources and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's
Associations.

PLAN PRESENTED TO CONSERVE STEELHEAD TROUT, THOUSANDS OF OTHER
SPECIES, AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA'S MOUNTAIN WILDLANDS

A group of environmental organizations and scientists have
developed a visionary conservation plan for the six million
acres comprising Southern California's Los Padres, Angeles, San
Bernardino, and Cleveland National Forests. The 500 page plan
was presented to the U.S. Forest Service on 4-02-02 to be
included as a conservation alternative in their comprehensive
planning process.

The four national forests span from Monterey County to the
Mexican border, providing recreational opportunities and clean
water for a massive urban population, and habitat for over 3,000
plant and 500 animal species, many of which live nowhere else on
earth. The endangered southern steelhead trout is a flagship
species of the plan because of its dependence on the coastal
streams flowing down from forests into the ocean.

Sponsors of the plan include the Center for Biological
Diversity, Southcoast Wildlands Project, Southern California
Forests Committee of the Sierra Club, California Wilderness
Coalition, Californians for Western Wilderness, California Wild
Heritage Campaign, California Native Plant Society, San Luis
Obispo Coast Alliance, Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo,
Friends of the River, Republicans for Environmental Protection,
Ventana Wilderness Alliance, Mountain Lion Foundation,
Conception Coast Project, and a rapidly growing coalition of
environmental organizations and concerned citizens. Dozens of
scientists, including fire ecologists, wildlife biologists and
botanists participated in the plan's development.

For more information and to see a copy of the plan:
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/press/4forests4-2-02.html

COMMENTS NEEDED ON GILA TROUT RECOVERY PLAN

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has released a public draft of
its revised Recovery Plan for the endangered Gila trout. The
Gila trout is endemic to high elevation mountain streams in the
Gila, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto National Forests in Arizona
and New Mexico. It currently occurs in the Gila, San Francisco,
and Verde river systems. It was listed as an endangered species
in 1967 due to livestock grazing, road construction, water
pollution, and hybridization with non-native trout.

The current recovery plan was completed in 1993. It includes
criteria for downlisting the trout to a "threatened" species,
but not for delisting. It also relies on an outdated,
unecological strategy of creating and maintaining small trout
populations in isolated headwater streams. Such small
populations are prone to extinction and are incapable of
supporting themselves, thus are forever dependent upon human
intervention. The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Fish
& Wildlife Service in 1998 to update the plan to include
delisting criteria including the restoration of entire
subwatersheds with interconnected tributaries capable of
sustaining large, self-sustaining trout populations.

Please send comments to the Fish & Wildlife Service by 6-10-02
calling for cessation of the isolated headwater reintroduction
strategy. Gila trout should be restored through entire
subwatersheds protected from livestock grazing, exotic trout,
and runoff from unnecessary roads.
Write to:
Gila Trout Recovery Plan
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
2105 Osuna NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113.

FREE WESTERN NATIVE TROUT POSTER AVAILABLE ONLINE

The Western Native Trout Campaign has commissioned a large color
poster celebrating the beauty and importance of the West's
imperiled trout species. It has information about trout
conservation, range maps, and beautiful drawings of 15 trout
species by renowned wildlife artist Joseph Tomelleri.

Top get your free copy:
http://www.westerntrout.org/trout/maps.htm

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