Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Western Native Trout Initiative Announces New Steering Committee and Grant Appropriation Approvals

In two separate actions at the July meeting of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Western Native Trout Initiative received endorsement for a new Steering Committee to guide the organizations’ implementation of efforts to improve the status of 15 species of western native trout; and approved six grants totaling $200,000 to a variety of states and organizations.

“For the past two years, the Western Native Trout Initiative has worked to develop a new approach to expanding the work being done to protect various species of cutthroat and other native trout across the West,” said Robin Knox, Initiative Coordinator.

“The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI), has partnered with 12 western state and five federal fishery management agencies in an evaluation and planning effort that describes what needs to be done to help the fish. The new Steering Committee will act as a board of directors to prioritize future Initiative expenditures and grants received from National Fish Habitat Action Plan federal funding. Over the past two years, over 30 projects have been initiated by this effort. The Steering Committee has a broad scope, and representation from a variety of fishery conservation interests to help us choose what are the most important enhancement projects to be completed in the next several years,” Knox said.

The structure of the Steering Committee is as follows:
Chair – Mike Stone – Wyoming
Rich Haskins NV – Great Basin States
Craig Burley WA – Northwest States
Roger Wilson UT – Intermountain States
Julie Meka AZ – Southwest States
Christopher Estes - Alaska
Charles Corrarino OR – At Large
Mike Sloane NM – At Large
Lisa Heki – US FWS
Tom Mendenhall – BLM (until Fall when he will assign Tyler Abbot)
Dan Duffield – US FS
NGO – Warren Colyer - Trout Unlimited

The Initiative is seeking representation as well from the Native American community and western Canadian Provinces, as these two groups have an interest in western trout management in connected waters as well.

WNTI Project Appropriation Details
The Western Native Trout Initiative is pleased to announce the awarding of funding to six western native trout projects that will advance knowledge about the several species and aid in the planning for future conservation efforts. The awards are as follows:

1. $28,500. – Redband Trout Status review and assessment. Multiple western state and federal fishery managers will develop the first ever status review for this obscure fish species. Total project cost - $36,150. Recipient – Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game.

2. $75,132. – State of Washington Redband Trout status and distribution Study. The State of Washington, as part of the Region-wide Redband Trout review will assess the statewide status of the species. Total project cost - $84,667. Recipient – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

3. $30,000. - Westslope Cutthroat Trout Status Review and database update. Four western states and 2 federal agencies will participate in this important review of changes in the status of Westslope cutthroat trout. Total project cost - $110,000. Recipient - Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game.

4. $39,255. – Coastal Cutthroat Trout Distribution and Status Review. This project will provide much needed information on the status of Coastal cutthroat trout to help determine what are the greatest conservation needs for the fish. Total project cost - $108,091. Recipient – Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

5. $7500. - California Golden Trout Population Sampling. California Trout Unlimited plays an important role in helping California Fish and Game sample Golden trout in hard to access areas. Total project cost - $15,000. Recipient – California Council of Trout Unlimited.

6. $19,500. Crooked Creek Streambank Stabilization and Improvement. A mix of private, state, and federal partners are working in the Klamath River Basin to improve fish habitat for a variety of fish species including Redband trout. This project helps that effort. Total project cost - $89,700. Recipient – Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust.

The total awarded is $199, 887. Total Projects cost is $344,608. For more information about WNTI, go to www.westernnativetrout.org.