A recent study in the Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (Volume 142, Issue 1, 2013) reports that after two decades, wild trout in the Blackfoot River Basin of Montana are still benefiting from stream restoration efforts.
That’s great news that a peer-reviewed study finds a positive correlation between restoration and wild trout populations. Habitat restoration offers numerous ecological benefits, many of which are far too complex to fully understand.
What is of concern in this study is why resource agencies will loudly proclaim the benefits of habitat restoration in one stream reach, but quietly use poisons to destroy habitat in another reach. The Blackfoot Challenge Project, in its difficult to find, yet technically public, planning documents clearly indicates stream poisoning and restocking as a restoration strategy, in the following sections:
2.5.1 Experimentally remove established brook trout populations;
2.5.2 Suppress northern pike in Clearwater Lakes chain;
3.1.2 Aggressively protect remaining native species complexes… by aggressively removing any nonnative invaders;
4. 3 Develop genetic management plans and guidelines for appropriate use of transplantation and artificial propagation.
What you will not find in this document are words like “rotenone,” “Antimycin-A,” “fish-toxicants,” “piscicides,” and common phrases like “native trout restoration.” These terms are increasingly being cleansed from agency documents and discourse. Now those responsible for sterilizing streams in the name of ‘restoration’ are avoiding mention of the lethal policies and practices.
The flawed logic of single-species management by any name, is severely damaging to aquatic ecosystems. How can poisoning all of the living inhabitants of a stream reach, containing the intricate web of life that supports trout at its apex, be considered restorative? More than 70% of the funding for The Blackfoot Challenge comes from tax dollars. Does it make sense to use tax dollars to restore riparian areas in one place and poison streams in another?
Our company believes protecting and restoring healthy, functioning freshwater streams and wetlands to sustain a high diversity of organisms is a much more effective and economical way of conserving species.
“Ecosystems will increasingly be a melting pot of long-term residents and of new arrivals,” said a team of scientists in the journal, Nature, calling conservationists to a new way of thinking.
Visit StopRiverKilling.org: http://www.stopriverkilling.org.