Saturday, December 25, 2010

Native Fish Conservation

Comment Now
no whiners

.. The NATIVE FISH CONSERVATION PLAN is designed as a major effort to respond to the diminished stocks of native fish in Yellowstone National Park.
.. The Environmental Assessment is now open for public comment.
.. Mark your calendars; only two public meetings are scheduled:
* Bozeman, Montana: January 5th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Comfort Inn, 1 370 North 7th Avenue
* Cody, Wyoming: January 6th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Holiday Inn, 1701 Sheridan Avenue.
.. Written comments may be submitted through the project web site, in person, by mail, or at either of the scheduled public meetings. Comments will not be accepted by phone, fax, or e-mail. All public comments must be received or postmarked by midnight, January 31, 2011.
..  Here are the important Links:
==> Project Home Page,
==> Project Plan Process,
==> Meeting Notices,
==> Project Links,
==> Document List,
==> Comment Form.
.. The scoping meeting in West Yellowstone last April was poorly attended. No feather merchants were present, one local guide was present, and a handful of concerned fishers attended.
.. Input by these few interested parties helped shape the current document that is now open for review.
.. The EA addresses Lake Trout in Yellowstone Lake, other invasive species throughout the rivers in the park, the effects of climate change on native species, and disease.
.. Conservation efforts addressed include: increased gill netting in Yellowstone Lake, establishing barriers and weirs, removing non native species, restoring native populations, and a host of other actions including poisoning fish populations.
.. The key concept is conservation. The actions taken to implement this can be extensive, varied, and vast.
.. It's important that input at this time be concise, reasoned and rational. It will help steer the project and will certainly affect the fishscape of the future.
.. Please understand that, at base, this addresses the question of "What Is The Purpose Of Yellowstone National Park." Several guides have remarked that it does no good to replace one trout with another. They are just concerned with catching any fish.
.. Many guides and fishers of the park will be voicing opinions that catching fish, (the more - the better,) is what the park should provide.
.. There are others that feel it's important to remove all invasive species such as Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout and Brook Trout to foster the recovery of native Cutthroat Trout & Grayling(?).
.. Many feather merchants feel that the role of Yellowstone National Park is to provide fishing opportunities for recreational fishing, (and an economic base for their enterprise.)
.. Some conservationists believe that the only way to enable preservation of native fish is to "restore" the park to "natural" conditions, including removal all planted stocks of fish, (which is a large segment of the current fishable populations.)
.. Definition of terms and concepts will be argued and explored at the public meetings and in the submitted comments. Many oxen could be gored by this project.
.. The subtext of comments will be interesting to observe, as will the rationale behind the proposed actions in those comments.
.. Some fishers of Yellowstone have opined that since Brown Trout have been in the rivers for over 100 years that they are "native."
.. Does that make Lake Trout native if they survive another 70 years?
.. In another 100 years what will the descendants of those fishers say about Rock Snot, New Zealand Mud Snails, and other yet unforeseen invasive species?
.. As the waters warm will we see Yellowstone become a trophy fishery for Carp and Chubs and Largemouth Bass?
.. What will happen if some fool decides to dump Northern Pike or Muskellunge or Lake Trout in Hebgen Reservoir, right at Yellowstone's door?
.. Your input is necessary for the decision making process. We're talking about the future and how history will view the legacy that we leave.
.. Make no mistake about it, this is a significant project. It will last for 20 years, (1/5 of the next 100 years.) It will significantly affect the definition of Yellowstone National Park and it's role in species conservation and recovery.
.. It will also determine who fishes where and for what in the park. It is an historic effort that demands you input and your concern for how Yellowstone is defined: a fun and profitable fishery for visitors seeking "non-native," invasive trout or a refuge for indigenous species - or both.