U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
June 26, 2007
Kevin Sloan, 303-236-4404
David McGillivary, 303-236-4411
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Comment on a Proposal for
Native Trout Restoration and Enhancement Projects in Utah
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment (DEA) of a State of Utah proposal, “Native Trout Restoration and Enhancement Projects in Southwest Utah.” Public comments are welcome for a 30-day period, ending July 23, 2007.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR), in cooperation with the Fishlake National Forest, Dixie National Forest, 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. Fish migration barriers would be constructed where necessary to prevent the reinvasion of nonnative trout. Native trout from “core” populations or fish produced from UDWR 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. Liquid emulsifiable and powder rotenone (Liquid Rotenone, 5% Active Ingredient, EPA Registration No. 432-172; Powder Rotenone, 7.4% Active Ingredient, EPA Registration No. 6458-6) would be used to treat target waters.
The DEA, prepared by the UDWR, in cooperation with the Fishlake National Forest, Dixie National Forest, BLM Richfield Field Office and the Service, analyzes the UDWR proposed action which is to expand the range and number of populations of native trout within their historic range. The action implements conservation actions listed in conservation agreements and strategies (Section 1.0, DEA) for native trout in Utah. It follows recommendations from the Service and UDWR to reduce threats to native trout and provide for the long-term conservation of the species. The proposed action at the marsh area will improve water quality and forage conditions for waterfowl. Improved use by waterfowl will increase hunting, wildlife watching, and other recreational opportunities. Actions will be implemented during 2007-2011. Specific elements of the project will be implemented in coordination with related land management projects in the associated drainages. This DEA documents the analysis of the proposed action as well as the “no action” alternative which would result in no increase in native trout populations or habitat, and thus, no progress would be made toward meeting the primary objective of the project. The lack of continued progress in restoring and securing these native fish would make them more vulnerable and may increase the likelihood of being listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
Public comment on the proposal and draft environmental assessment will help the Service decide whether to approve the proposed project. The Service also must determine the proposed project’s eligibility under the Sport Fish Restoration Act grant program, assess its character and design, and ensure compliance with federal rules and regulations.
Copies of the draft environmental assessment, which include details of the UDWR’s proposed action, alternative actions and decisions to be made by the Service, are available online by selecting the title of the document at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/federalassistance. Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Service’s Division of Federal Assistance at 303-236-5420. Send comments 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.
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