Monday, December 14, 2009

Clackamas Bull Trout

Bull trout are Rad! There is no doubt about it, Salvelinus Confluentus is an amazing species with a multitude of life histories in many different ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest and Western Slope of the Rockies. For years this species of char has been known as an indicator species for water quality and healthy ecosystems due to their need for cold, clean water for spawning and rearing. With the scourge of man and its lust to develop and rape our forests for timber, this species has been hit hard to almost the brink of extinction. Many of the rivers that once contained healthy populations of bull trout are gone and the few that have them are very vulnerable to ecosystem changes. With the listing of bull trout as a threatened species in the coterminous United States there have been many moves to help these dwindling populations.

With one of the last strongholds of bull trout in Oregon being the Metolius River system and having bull trout extinct in it's neighboring Clackamas River system, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service is working to reintroduce bull trout from the Metolius System into the Clackamas River in the hopes to reestablish this species in the basin. This complex endevor will not only help to reestablish the species, but also aid in the understanding of this ecosystem that has had vast changes over the decades due to dams, timber harvest and irrigation. With most of the upper watershed being protected by federal agencies and increased laws to protect the ecosystem, there are high hopes that this population will reestablish themselves and fill the niche left from the extinct Clackamas strain of bull trout. The long term goal of an established population will help in our understanding of this fragile ecosystem and its native anadramous and non anadramous fish. Read more courtesy of The Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife News Bulletin and Oregon Live.

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