HINES, Ore. – A public meeting on the Lahontan cutthroat trout restoration project is scheduled for August 13 at 6 p.m. at the McDermitt Community Center. The meeting will address concerns raised at the previous meeting, as well as seek additional input.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists are working with other state agencies to restore native populations of threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout in the McDermitt Creek watershed. Implementation of the project is expected to begin in the fall of 2007
Restoration activities include construction of barriers on Upper McDermitt, Lower McDermitt and Cottonwood Creeks. Non-native fish species will be removed from different stream segments in sequential years. After the streams are treated with rotenone, they will be tested for successful removal of non-native species and native Lahontans will be stocked the following year. A group of native non-game fish and invertebrates will be protected in each stream and/or transplanted from adjacent streams after treatment.
“The primary recovery goal is to de-list the Lahontan cutthroat trout and reach a point where there are viable, self-sustaining populations,” said ODFW Malheur Watershed District Biologist Tim Walters. “If we reach this goal, there may be angling opportunities for Lahontan Cutthroat Trout in the McDermitt Creek basin.”
Lahontan cutthroat trout are a native species that was first listed as endangered throughout its range in 1970 and subsequently reclassified as threatened in 1975 to facilitate management and allow regulated angling. This species of trout was originally found in lakes and streams throughout Nevada, in much of California, and in southeast Oregon. Once common throughout their range, Lahontan cutthroat trout populations have declined primarily due to loss of habitat, crossbreeding with introduced rainbow trout, and competition with other introduced species of trout.
Recovery of native Lahontan cutthroat trout populations falls under the guidelines of the Native Fish Conservation Policy that was adopted in 2002. The policy identifies several goals which apply to the Lahontan restoration project. Those goals include preventing the serious depletion of native fish and maintaining and restoring naturally reproducing fish in order to provide substantial ecological, economic and cultural benefits to the citizens of Oregon.
ODFW is partnering on restoration efforts with the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as the Trout Creek Mountain Working Group. The Trout Creek Mountain Working Group is comprised of ranchers, federal and state agency staff and representatives from a variety of environmental groups.
The Lahontan restoration plan has been presented to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission which meets monthly and is the policymaking body for fish and wildlife issues in the state.
The mission of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is to protect and enhance Oregon's fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations. The agency consists of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, a commission-appointed director and a statewide staff of approximately 950 permanent employees. Headquartered in Salem, ODFW has regional offices in Clackamas, Roseburg, Bend, and La Grande with ten district offices located throughout the state. For additional information, please visit www.dfw.state.or.us.