Bull trout data sought
Agency extends reclassification
By GREG STAHL
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
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
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
"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.