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10/18/2010

Critical Habitat Designated for Bull Trout

Earlier this week, the US Fish and Wildlife Service released their final, revised critical habitat designation for the bull trout. Bull trout are cold-water fish in relatively pristine lakes and streams in the American northwest.

Thanks in part to the Sierra Club's investment in this rule making, 19,000 miles of streams, 5 times the previous length, and 490,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs, 3 times more than previously ordered, have been designated bull trout critical habitat.

The revised critical habitat designations will provide extra regulatory protections that may require special management considerations for the fish; the habitats will also be prioritized for recovery actions. The areas of expanded habitat designation include the Upper Clark Fork River above Flint Creek, Warm Springs Creek, and Cache Creek, all in Montana. These are the types of areas deserving of increased attention to safeguard bull trout in the face of climate change.

BulltroutcreditBartGamettUSFS 

US Fish and Wildlife Service
Bull Trout were listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1999 as threatened in their range in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Nevada. Bull Trout are primarily threatened by climate change, habitat degradation, blockage of migratory corridors, poor water quality, and the introduction of non-native species. Because the bull trout requires such pristine water conditions, they are excellent indicators of water quality. By protecting and enhancing the specific habitat requirements of the bull trout, we can improve water quality of rivers and lakes throughout their range.

To read more from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, click here.

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