Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

Western Native Trout Initiative Coordinator

 

Robin Knox, 303-236-4402, wnti.rknox@wispertel.net

 

 

National Fish Habitat Board awards “Fish Habitat Partnership” status to the Western Native Trout Initiative and endorses $600,000 to fund native trout habitat projects.

    

February 29, 2008 – Denver, CO – The National Fish Habitat Board, the guiding body for implementation of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (NFHAP), officially recognized the Western Native Trout Initiative as a “Fish Habitat Partnership” at their February 20, 2008  Board meeting in St. Petersburg, FL.  The national recognition is an important next step for the Western Native Trout Initiative, which received endorsement from 12 western state fish and wildlife agency Directors in early January and is also endorsed and supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other partner federal agencies. 

 

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is a collaborative planning and project implementation effort among member agencies and organizations that will enhance and speed-up the conservation of western native trout to improve their overall population and habitat status, and provide for potential recreational fishing opportunities.  The national Board, which oversees the implementation of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan is a nationwide effort with the goal:  “To conserve (protect, restore, and enhance) the habitats of the nation’s marine and freshwater fish populations, to support a broad natural diversity of fish and other aquatic species, to promote self-sustaining fish populations and to provide successful fishing opportunities”.

 

In a related action, the Board also endorsed funding of $2.4 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for fishery habitat projects proposed by the 5 recognized Fish Habitat Partnerships.  Of this $2.4 million, $600,000 is slated to be invested in fish habitat projects across the West that benefit native trout.  The $600,000 of Fish and Wildlife Service funds will be matched with more than $800,000 in local and state government, tribal, private, non-profit, and other federal funds or in-kind services to support 22 native trout restoration projects.

 

With few exceptions, native trout populations have declined across the West, usually due to a variety of factors including habitat alterations and impacts from introduced aquatic species. The 15 native trout addressed in the WNTI have long been considered as biologically, recreationally and culturally important. “The funding provided by the National Fish Habitat Board, through the US Fish and Wildlife Service, is vital to increasing on-the-ground habitat and species management efforts” said Robin Knox, the Initiative Coordinator.  “Without the funds and the cooperative partnering among the various agencies, the projects would be delayed or simply just not get done”.

 

The species of trout addressed by the WNTI include Apache trout, Bonneville cutthroat trout, Bull trout, California Golden trout, Coastal cutthroat trout, Colorado River cutthroat trout, Gila trout, Greenback cutthroat trout, Lahontan cutthroat trout, Little Kern Golden trout, Paiute cutthroat trout, Redband trout, Rio Grande cutthroat trout, Westslope cutthroat trout, and Yellowstone cutthroat trout. 

 

Project Information

 

Through partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Fish Habitat Action Plan and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s “More Fish Campaign”, the WNTI has been allocated funding of almost 2.14 million dollars since its inception in 2006.

 

The $600,000 allocated for twenty-two (22) 2008 native trout projects,  includes, but is not limited to, the following representative list: 

  • North Fork of Ahtanum Creek fish passage – Washington
  • Black Canyon of Gila River  fish barrier reconstruction – New Mexico
  • Teton Creek habitat restoration – Idaho
  • Quinn River fish protective barrier construction – Nevada, Oregon
  • Georgetown Creek Fish Ladder construction – Idaho
  • Trapper Creek Riparian zone exclosure repair– Colorado
  • Honey Creek diversion construction and repair – Oregon
  • Willow Creek riparian zone improvement – Nevada
  • Lake Creek fish barrier enhancement  - Montana

 

Details about all 22 funded projects can be obtained by contacting the WNTI Coordinator. 

 

WNTI Coordinator: Robin Knox - at. Phone 303-236-4402, FAX 303-236-8163, or  E-mail:  WNTI.rknox@wispertel.net 

 

Visit www.westernnativetrout.org  for more information about WNTI