Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Endangered Species Act protection not warranted for Eagle Lake rainbow trout

July 6, 2016 by Pam Bierce

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it has completed a status review on the Eagle Lake rainbow trout and determined that the fish does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) at this time.

The Eagle Lake rainbow trout is a subspecies of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aquilarum) found only in the highly alkaline Eagle Lake and its main tributary, Pine Creek, in California. Past impacts from improper land management, introduction of non-native fishes, over-harvesting and water diversions from the lake during the late 1800s and the early 1900s resulted in the degradation of habitat within the Pine Creek watershed and a declining Eagle Lake rainbow trout population. In addition, passage barriers were constructed in the 1950's as part of a hatchery program. The barriers were intended to prevent spawning migration, protect the fish from being stranded in the creeks by insufficient flows and to assist in the collection of fish for the hatchery program.

After a thorough evaluation of the best scientific and commercial information, the Service concluded that the stressors that currently may be impacting the Eagle Lake rainbow trout population, including grazing, roads, fish passage barriers, recreational fishing, predation from and competition with brook trout, disease and climate change do not pose significant threats to its long-term survival. As part of the evaluation, the Service also considered and evaluated conservation efforts that have been implemented and shown to be effective in reducing the effects of the stressors on the Eagle Lake rainbow trout.

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