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For more information contact: Kim Goodman (208) 552-0891
SALMON-CHALLIS FOREST SERVICE BIOLOGIST RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FOR HIS WORK TO PROTECT FISH IN THE DRAINAGES OF THE BIG LOST, LITTLE LOST, AND SALMON RIVERS
Arlington, VA – A biologist with the U.S. Forest Service working in Idaho has received Trout Unlimited’s Trout Conservation Professional Award for his work to identify threats to fish in the Little Lost, Big Lost, and Salmon River drainages.
The award recipient, Bart Gamett, is a fisheries biologist assigned to the Salmon-Challis National Forest. He received the award at the annual meeting of the national conservation organization, which was held this year in Boise, Idaho last week.
The national award recognizes outstanding professional contributions to Trout Unlimited’s mission of conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. A committee comprised of Trout Unlimited’s National Leadership Council Representatives selects the award winners.
“Bart Gamett is an excellent biologist who exemplifies the qualities necessary to be an effective, proactive natural resource manager. He has been instrumental in driving discussions regarding water use, fish barriers, and other causes of species decline in the Big Lost River and Little Lost River drainages,” said Jim Mathias, a board member with the Snake River Cutthroats Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Gamett was instrumental in the research that eventually identified the Big Lost River mountain whitefish as the only salmonid native to that river’s system. He was also the first document and raise awareness that the river’s whitefish populations had declined and initiate efforts to reverse that decline.
His expertise and guidance helped the Trout Unlimited Idaho Water Project complete a fish barrier assessment associated with agricultural diversions in the entire Big Lost watershed. As a result, diversions, which have been identified as significant barriers to whitefish migration, have been modified.
Gamett also played a key role in developing a plan to help recover native bull trout in the Little Lost River system. The recovery plan is designed to ensure the long-term persistence of self-sustaining, complex, interacting groups of bull trout distributed throughout the species’ native range so that the species can be delisted from the Endangered Species Act. He was instrumental in the removal of migration barriers and the restoration of flows on several tributaries to the Little Lost River, including Badger Creek, which was nominated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at one of the nation’s “Ten Waters to Watch.”
“Bart’s dedication to keeping the Big Lost River mountain whitefish off the Endangered Species Act list and his work to recover bull trout has been tireless. He has proven himself invaluable when it comes to providing guidance, information, and funding for important projects aimed at protecting Idaho’s natural resources,” said Kim Goodman, the director of Trout Unlimited’s Idaho Water Project.