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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2004


Bull trout data sought

Agency extends reclassification deadline

Express Staff Writer

The fate of a uniquely Western fish is hanging in the balance of public and scientific opinion.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week it is extending the deadline for comments on its five-year review of bull trout, which are protected as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The review will assess the best available information on how bull trout have fared since they were listed for protection across their range in the lower 48 United States in 1999. This will include analyses of population data and threats to the species.

The deadline, originally set for July 1, was extended to Jan. 3, 2005. The move is to allow additional time for people to submit new information that has become available since the 1999 listing.

"The purpose of a five-year review is to ensure that the classification of a species as threatened or endangered is accurate," said Dave Allen, regional director of the service’s Pacific Region.

The service said it received multiple written requests to extend the comment deadline.

Among those were requests by the states of Idaho, Montana and Washington, which have been active participants in bull trout recovery planning and implementation. The three states are undertaking a range-wide review of bull trout and plan to submit their information as part of the service’s five-year review.

According to the service, the review will consider the best scientific and commercial data that have become available since the current listing.

Data will include species biology, habitat conditions, threat status and trends. Other new information will include taxonomic

If the service finds a change in the species classification is warranted, the agency may separately propose to reclassify or de-list bull trout.

If the agency proposes a change, it would go through a separate formal rule-making process, including public review and comment.

The service is asking anyone with new scientific or commercial information concerning the status of bull trout to submit it to John Young, Bull Trout Coordinator, Attn: 5-year Review, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 911 NE 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97232. Comments can be faxed to (503) 231-6243 or e-mailed to R1BullTrout5Y@r1.fws.gov.

"Information submitted should be supported by documentation such as maps, bibliographic references, methods used to gather and analyze data and copies of any pertinent publications, reports or letters by knowledgeable sources," the service said.


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