The fish killers have backed off — for now.

A short while back, a handful of environmental activist and I were chest deep in a controversy over using poison to kill aquatic life in remote streams and lakes in Wyoming and Montana. Wyoming agreed to seek alternative methods to “bring back” native cutthroat trout populations, accepting local volunteers to use electro-fishing and conventional fishing to help native trout recover. In Montana, there seemed no amount of reason, logic, or negotiation would persuade bureaucrats at the US Forest Service-USDA and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks to consider other options. They were dead-set against any other way. This is when we notify bureaucrats that “we’ll see you in court.” We notified, they thought about it, and then, quite unexpectedly, folded. Victory for water, frogs, salamanders, aquatic insects, humans, and life in general.

This would have been one of the largest poison and plant projects in the West. But as past history has shown, it’s likely that repeated poisoning over many years would be required to assure complete annihilation of the existing fish which were, ironically, planted by the same agency that now wanted to poison them.

“Thanks to a pending lawsuit by Wilderness Watch, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, and other plaintiffs as well as efforts to alert the public through the media to the potential problems with this project, the Forest Service decided to pull the project.  As the Forest Service notification read: “The project decision included approving a Pesticide Use Proposal for the use of rotenone in the Scapegoat Wilderness and authorization of the following activities normally prohibited in wilderness: use of generators, boat motors, and motorized pumps to disperse rotenone; use of helicopters to transport equipment, chemicals, and fish; and development of spike camps and a radio repeater.”” – Mike Garrity

Here’s a copy of the letter:


United States Department of Agriculture
Forest Service
Lolo National Forest
24 Fort Missoula Road
Missoula, MT 59804
Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest
1220 38th Street North
Great Falls, MT 59405 File Code: 1950

Date: August 5, 2021

Dear Interested Public:
We are writing to document the withdrawal of our June 2, 2021, Decision Memo for the North Fork Blackfoot River Indigenous Fish Restoration project on the Lolo and Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forests. This withdrawal is effective immediately.
The project decision included approving a Pesticide Use Proposal for the use of rotenone in the Scapegoat Wilderness and authorization of the following activities normally prohibited in wilderness: use of generators, boat motors, and motorized pumps to disperse rotenone; use of helicopters to transport equipment, chemicals, and fish; and development of spike camps and a radio repeater.
We look forward to continued cooperation with the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Park in the future. Any further consideration of this project will include further opportunities for public involvement.
Sincerely,
CAROLYN P UPTON Forest Supervisor
SARA MAYBEN
Acting Forest Supervisor

Nice way to end the week.

3 thoughts on “The fish killers have backed off — for now.

  1. Amazing that they can call a plan to decimate all life in lakes (and all of the chain reactions) a “restoration” project. Is the fish they want to reintroduce in the aftermath a Delta Variant?

    Like

    1. Remember, these are “professionals,” with various degrees hanging on their walls to prove it. I do not know about the “Delta,” but most hatchery fish are variants of some sort because the matching of sperm and eggs is a man-made selection, not nature-made. Surely, something is arbitrarily altered (narrowed) in the process. In the Scapegoat Wilderness Area, there were no fish at all before man planted them decades ago. Must have been a shock to all those aquatic lifeforms when they saw their first fish looking at them as lunch.

      Like

  2. It’s the same mentality as modern medicine, isn’t it? Identify something as a problem, and then “solve” it in ways that will obviously and inevitably lead to more and more and more problems to be “solved.” This project could have kept “professionals” busy, studying and solving problems, for decades. Imagine what would happen if a similar movement blocked doctors from solving any more problems with, say, chemotherapy?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s