5/1/2001 -- -- Contact:
David Scott, Executive Director, Idaho Council, Trout Unlimited: (208) 424-1251
Alan Moore, Western Communications Coordinator, Trout Unlimited: (503) 827-5700 x. 10
May 2, 2001…Boise, Idaho…Trout Unlimited's Idaho Council has released "Bringing Back the Bulls," a video about cooperative conservation efforts to protect and restore threatened bull trout in the Lower Clark Fork - Pend Oreille basin of western Montana and the Idaho Panhandle. The Idaho Council produced the program in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and Avista Corporation.
"What we tried to do with this program was to highlight the different problems that have converged to bring native bull trout to their current status, and then demonstrate the range of different strategies Trout Unlimited and others are utilizing to bring the bull trout back," said David Scott, executive director of Idaho TU. Bull trout are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The 14-minute video focuses on cooperating with private landowners to protect critical bull trout habitat, combating the sedimentation that clogs spawning grounds, improving fish passage at road crossings, promoting angler education on fish identification and safe handling, and other ways to protect and restore native bull trout and their habitat.
The program also highlights a recent agreement brokered between Idaho TU and several other conservation partners and agencies with Avista Corp. that led to a multi-year, multi-million-dollar commitment to improving bull trout passage and habitat in the basin. Avista owns two large hydroelectric dams on the Lower Clark Fork.
"Bringing Back the Bulls" emphasizes the critical importance of native species to an entire ecosystem. Bull trout - one of the earliest inhabitants of the Lower Clark Fork - Pend Oreille basin following the Missoula Floods some 10,000 years ago - are viewed by biologists as a key indicator of overall ecosystem health, requiring the coldest and cleanest water of all fish in the basin. Their presence indicates a healthy ecosystem; their absence from historical habitat usually means something has gone awry.
Trout Unlimited's mission is to conserve, protect and restore North America's trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. TU is supported by over 125,000 members nationwide.