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News Release

Listing as Endangered Not Warranted for Coaster Brook Trout


April 18, 2009



Georgia Parham 812-334-4261 x 203
Jessica Hogrefe 612-713-5346


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has found that a petition to list the coaster brook trout, a form of brook trout found in the Great Lakes and its tributaries, as endangered is not warranted.


On March 1, 2006, the Service received a petition from the Sierra Club Mackinac Chapter and the Huron Mountain Club asking the Service to list the coaster brook trout as endangered and to designate critical habitat.  Additional information was received on May 25, 2006.  The Service announced in 2008 that it would study information on coaster populations to determine whether they should be listed as endangered.


The Service’s finding, which appears in the May 19, 2009, Federal Register, determined that coaster brook trout in the Great Lakes are not a distinct population segment and therefore are not eligible for listing under the Endangered Species Act.  The ESA allows listing of species, subspecies and distinct population segments of vertebrate animals. 


The Service also found that the coaster brook trout does not make up a significant portion of the range of the brook trout, another measure used to determine whether to list an animal as endangered or threatened under the ESA.


Although the Service did not find that coaster brook trout can be listed under the Endangered Species Act, the agency decided to begin a native brook trout status assessment to better understand the brook trout in its entire range.  This would help determine whether any brook trout population meets criteria as a distinct population segment or constitutes a significant portion of the species’ range.


“We know coaster brook trout in the Great Lakes face a number of challenges, as do many Great Lakes fisheries,” said Tom Melius, the Service’s Midwest Regional Director.  “The Service is committed to its ongoing coaster brook trout conservation and rehabilitation efforts.”


Coaster brook trout are brook trout that spend a portion of their life cycle in the Great Lakes.  At one time, there were more than 50 runs in the U.S. waters of Lake Superior.  They were also found in Lakes Huron and Michigan, where they are now extirpated.  Today, there are four known populations in the U.S. waters of Lake Superior, all in Michigan:  one in the Salmon Trout River in the Upper Peninsula and three on Isle Royale.


The Service helped lead the development of a multi-agency brook trout rehabilitation plan, which calls for protecting coasters from overharvest; restoration of stream habitat; and redesign or removal of dams blocking stream access.   


Melius also pledged to continue working with states and other partners on fisheries management activities that will benefit coaster brook trout.  The Service conducts surveys to examine coaster population status; provides technical fishery assistance to partners working to rehabilitate coasters; developed and maintains coaster brood stocks for stocking and preservation of genetic material of remaining populations; and stocks fish in waters with suitable habitat in cooperation with partner fishery agencies.


For more information on the coaster brook trout, visit the Service’s Midwest website at


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit


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Last updated: February 10, 2016