in the Yellowstone Cutthroat / Lake Trout Issue
is no single group that is responsible for the preservation of
the Yellowstone cutthroat trout subspecies.
Several state and federal agencies have been charged with
the task of managing these fish, but private organizations have
also taken an interest in the continued existence of the fish.
All of these groups work toward preserving the Yellowstone
cutthroat for future generations. Sometimes these groups differ in their opinions
on the way that the cutthroat should be managed and challenge
each other on management strategies.
These sorts of checks and balances are important in ensuring
that the species does not fall victim to a single agency’s mismanagement.
Mission is to conserve,
protect and restore
North America's trout and salmon fisheries
and their watersheds.”
Trout Unlimited is
an organization of conservative minded anglers. Their national office is based just outside of Washington, D.C.
and employs professionals who testify before Congress, publish
the organization’s quarterly magazine, TROUT, and intervene in federal legal proceedings. There are also 500 local and state chapters
that organize over 125, 000 grassroots volunteers involved in
conservation issues. Trout
Unlimited also stresses the importance of native fisheries and
the negative impacts of introduced or "exotic" species
on native salmonid populations. The organization realizes that total eradication of
lake trout in Yellowstone Lake is not possible so it’s position
on the issue is that every effort should be made limit the lake
trout population to a level that will affect cutthroat trout
as little as possible. Several of its newsletters have focused on the lake trout issue in Yellowstone
Lake and they have encouraged members to help however possible.
In 1996 the Wyoming Council of Trout Unlimited coordinated
anglers in an effort to put a dent in the lake trout population
by fishing. This met
with limited success. They
have since volunteered to help with the Park Service’s gillnetting
program. However, to date, the Park Service has not called upon
any of their volunteers to help.
of Congress on March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park
was "dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring
ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people" and
"for the preservation, from injury or spoilation, of all
timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders. .
. and their retention in their natural condition."
Park Service has been trying to live up to these two, often conflicting
designations since its creation, and management strategies have
changed with the popular views of the times. see history The park receives an average of 2.5 million visitors in a year
and about 17% of these are anglers.
Because of this large impact of the fishery resource Yellowstone
changed its fishing
regulations in 2001. see policy
US Fish and Wildlife Service
|"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's
mission is, working with others, to conserve, protectand
|enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and
their habitats for the continuing benefit of the
The US Fish and Wildlife
Service enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the
Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations,
restores nationally significant fisheries, and conserves and
restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands. Until August 1996 a resident
unit of the US Fish and Wildlife Service operated within Yellowstone
National Park as a carryover from the park’s long history of
fish stocking and transplanting.
This Fisheries Assistance Office cooperated with the
Park Service on fisheries monitoring and research.
It recommended management plans based on their data of
fish populations and angler usage. Because of a reordering of national USFWS priorities
and objectives in 1996, the monitoring of Yellowstone sport
fisheries by the USFWS was no longer feasible and the task was
handed over to the Park Service.
In August 1998, USFWS received a petition
to list the Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout as threatened. It denied this petition
in February 2001 on grounds that the petition did “not provide
substantial biological information to indicate that a listing
may be warranted”.
The Biodiversity Legal Foundation
is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the preservation
of all native wild plants and animals, communities of species,
and naturally functioning ecosystems. Through educational, administrative, and legal
actions, the BLF endeavors to encourage improved public attitudes
and policies for all living things.
The BLF along with three other organizations petitioned
the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1998 to list the Yellowstone
Cutthroat Trout as a threatened species.
The BLF has been involved in many of these petitions including
petitions for the Trumpeter Swan and the Black Tailed Prairie
Dog. The Fish and Wildlife
Service found negatively against the BLF’s petition to list Yellowstone
Cutthroat. When they challenge
this finding in court, the BLF will raise the issue of the introduced
Lake Trout threatening the Native Cutthroat Trout population.
for the Wild Rockies
|“Alliance for the Wild Rockies' non-profit
mission is to secure the
integrity of the Wild Rockies Bioregion through citizen
|empowerment, and the application of conservation
|economic models and environmental law. ”
Alliance for the Wild Rockies is
a tax-exempt, non-profit public interest organization dedicated
to the protection and preservation of the native biodiversity
of the Northern Rockies Bioregion.
This includes the natural features; natural functioning
ecosystems; and native plant, fish, and animal life of parts
of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, Alberta, and
British Columbia. The
Alliance has offices in Missoula, MT and Boise, ID.
It has a membership of nearly 1,000 businesses and organizations
on top of approximately 3,600 individual members.
The Alliance’s goals include promoting protection for
the native wildlife and fish species in the region and their
habitat. Also the establishment of wilderness areas,
parks, wild and scenic rivers, and other designations to protect
the natural and primitive qualities of the landscape is of great
importance to them. The Alliance also serves as a watchdog organization
which reviews the policies and programs of federal land management
agencies and provides the public with information on issues
which affect the parks, wildernesses and other natural landscapes
of the region, including the greater Yellowstone area.
of the Alliance currently work, or have worked, as park and
forest rangers, naturalists, researchers, hiking guides, photographers,
and nature writers. Its
members are directly affected by any activities which threaten
or alter the natural qualities of the Northern Rockies Bioregion.
This includes the issue of the Lake Trout introduction
into Yellowstone Lake and its threat to the native Cutthroat
population. The Alliance
raised this issue when, along with three other organizations
it petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Yellowstone
Cutthroat as a threatened species.
Under its philosophy of preserving “ecological integrity”,
the Alliance supports the Park Service’s efforts to limit the
Lake Trout population through its gill netting operations.
Ecosystems Defense Council
The Montana Ecosystems Defense
Council (MEDC) is a non-profit corporation with its principal
place of business in Bozeman, MT.
MEDC is concerned with the national and international interest
of maintaining the biological diversity and integrity of all natural
ecosystems. It is also
concerned with the enforcement and administration of environmental
laws. Its members use Yellowstone National Park and
the national forests surrounding the park for recreation including
fishing, hunting, hiking, cross-country skiing, and camping. MEDC is concerned with threats to the Yellowstone Cutthroat including
its shrinking range, low population numbers, degraded habitat,
and the introduction of Lake Trout into Yellowstone Lake. Because of these concerns MEDC was one of the organizations that
petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Yellowstone
Cutthroat as a threatened species.