Judge orders consideration of golden trout for

spectr17

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Judge orders consideration of state fish for Endangered Species list

ANGELA WATERCUTTER, Associated Press Writer  

June 25, 2002
 
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) --

A federal judge gave U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton 90 days to start the process of listing California's state fish -- the golden trout -- as an endangered species.

The conservation group Trout Unlimited sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in November 2001, claiming the service and Norton failed to act on a request last year to list the species as endangered.

The decision issued June 21 by the U.S. District Court of San Francisco means that the service has 90 days to decide if the request has merit. The service will then have nine months to act on that decision.

The Fish and Wildlife Service was scheduled to announce whether it will propose the trout for listing by Sept. 16, said Patricia Foulk, a spokeswoman for the service.

"The 90-day order is just the first step in the petition process," Foulk said.

At one time, the colorful trout were found in 450 miles of streams across the southern Sierra Nevada. But in the past 100 years, crossbreeding and pollution have reduced their range to 84 miles. The fish have crossbred with rainbow and brown trout stocked in alpine lakes upstream.

"Golden trout could very well face extinction if they had to wait for the Fish and Wildlife Service to get to our petition," said Steve Trafton, Trout Unlimited's California Policy Coordinator.

The service did not act on the petition in October 2000 because it had a backlog of other endangered species requests and lawsuits for species ranging from the spotted owl to the Yosemite toad, and the agency was under a moratorium on adding new species to the list.

"The fact is that after looking at the latest genetic testing done by the Department of Fish and Game we see that the state fish is in danger," said Brett Matzke, public lands director for California Trout, a conservation group. "However, we still feel that a 'threatened' listing is all that's necessary."
 

karstic

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I wonder what the ramifications would be to anglers? Closed streams, no more stocking, no more cattle grazing?
 

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