Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

August 9, 2007

Contacts:  Kevin Sloan 303-236-4404

                David McGillivary 303-236-4411

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes a Finding of No Significant Impact for Native Trout Restoration and Enhancement Projects in Southwest Utah

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has determined that the proposed project entitled Native Trout Restoration and Enhancement Projects in Southwest Utah will not have a significant impact on the human environment and will not require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). 

The Service previously released a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) entitled Native Trout Restoration and Enhancement Projects in Southwest Utah to satisfy NEPA requirements and allow public comment on the proposal.  The DEA detailed the project and analyzed potential impacts and effects on affected resources.  It was released for a 30-day public commenting period which ended on July 23, 2007.  Two comment letters were received and considered by the Service.

The project will be funded in part with a grant under the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, administered by the Service.  The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (Division), in cooperation with the Fishlake National Forest (NF), the Dixie NF, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Richfield Field Office is proposing to establish populations of native trout (Bonneville cutthroat trout or Colorado River cutthroat trout) in ten streams in south central and southwestern Utah.  Nonnative trout in project streams would be removed where they are present through rotenone applications.  Fish migration barriers would be constructed where necessary to prevent the reinvasion of nonnative trout.  Native trout from “core” populations or fish produced from Division native trout brood stocks would be introduced to establish self-sustaining populations.  In addition, nonnative fish would be removed from one marsh area, where they impact waterfowl use and production.

The Proposed Action is to expand the range and number of populations of native trout within their historic range.  The Proposed Action is in agreement with direction provided by the Fishlake National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan and the Dixie National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan.  It is also in agreement with direction provided by both the Conservation Agreement and Strategy for Bonneville Cutthroat Trout, and the Conservation Agreement and Strategy for Colorado River Cutthroat Trout.  Signatories to these conservation agreements include the Forest Service, BLM, the Service, and the Division.  Actions will be implemented during 2007-2011. 

A copy of the “Finding of No Significant Impact” and the final Environmental Assessment are available online at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/federalassistance.  Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Services’ Division of Federal Assistance at 303-236-5420 or writing to: Chief, Division of Federal Assistance, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver, CO 80225.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

 

- FWS –