propose new floating permits
Express Staff Writer
Sawtooth National Forest is proposing to change regulations associated
with commercial float boating on the upper Salmon River near Stanley.
could result from reissuing permits for commercial outfitting and guiding.
An environmental assessment, recently completed by the Forest Service,
establishes six alternatives, including a preferred permitting method.
National Recreation Area Deputy Ranger Lisa Stoeffler said the basic
difference in the preferred alternative, versus how activities have been
previously managed, is the stretch of river that will be used to determine
when measures must be implemented to mitigate for the protection of
the past, we have used the stretch of the Salmon River from the state fish
hatchery to Holman Creek for monitoring spawning activities,"
Stoeffler said. "We are now proposing to reduce that stretch of river
from Redfish Lake Creek to Holman Creek.
this will do is segment out the early and late spawning activities that
may not truly indicate the need to implement floatboating mitigation
measures. The bottom line here is that we think this will mean
implementing mitigation measures up to four days later, thus providing for
more floatboating opportunities unhindered by portaging requirements
further down river at sites like Indian Riffles, for example."
chinook salmon were listed as endangered species in 1992 and 1993 under
the Endangered Species Act, and, following the listing, the Forest Service
conducted an environmental impact statement that resulted in Salmon River
corridor regulations to protect the fish.
mandated by the environmental document include floating time windows, boat
limits, mandatory portages and a penalty point system for violations.
1996, commercial permits were issued on an annual basis but are now issued
every five years.
must adhere to the original environmental document.
propose to issue up to six permits for floatboat outfitters and up to four
permits for guided walk-and-wade fishing," Stoeffler said. "The
permits would be issued for the next five-year period."
floatboating will continue to be governed by requirements similar to the
rules for commercial outfitters and guides, Stoeffler said.
the floating system implemented on the river over the past six years has
worked in protecting chinook salmon, and at the same time provided boating
opportunities, the results of the six years of monitoring and input from
the public indicates that there is more fine tuning needed,"
Stoeffler said. "This is why the proposed action is slightly
different than the current management and why the alternatives analyzed
cover such a wide range of options."
range from no change to removing all mitigating measures.
interested in reviewing this document and providing comments to the Forest
Service may obtain a copy of the assessment by contacting the Sawtooth
National Recreation Area office at the Stanley Ranger Station at
assessment is also available online at www.fs.fed.us/r4/sawtooth
deadline for comments is May 20.