Westslope Cutthroat Denied Protection

March 28, 2007 By: Marshall Cutchin

Apparently, if it acts like a Westslope cutthroat, it is a Westslope cutthroat, at least in the minds of the U.S. court.
Siding with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which favored including hybrid cutthroats in the total count of Westslope cuts in determining whether the fish deserves further protection, on Monday U.S. District Judge Emmett G. Sullivan denied the multi-year effort of various conservation groups and noted fly fisher Bud Lilly to gain Endangered status for pure-strain cuts. “‘We don’t have any immediate plans to appeal it,’ said Sean Regnerus, water program coordinator for American Wildlands, a national group based in Bozeman and one of several that sought the listing.” From an article by the Associated Press.
For some background on why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opposed Endangered status for the Westslope cutthroat, you can read this August 2003 press release on the FWS Web site, which states: “The Service based its finding on information contained in a 1999 status review as well as a 2003 updated status report prepared by the fish and game departments of the States of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, and the U.S. Forest Service. That report confirms that westslope cutthroat trout populations currently occupy 33,500 of its historic stream miles (59 percent) in the United States and genetically pure populations inhabit approximately 3,500 stream miles (57 percent of tested stream miles; 10 percent of occupied miles) and may inhabit as many as 12,600 miles of stream in which no potentially hybridizing fishes occur. Many of these genetically-pure populations of the fish are found in habitats protected by natural barriers preventing interbreeding with other trout subspecies.”