Montana residents should be concerned with the tangent of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to destroy more diversified wild fisheries in our streams, lakes and rivers to replace that producing resource with a hybrid hatchery-reared low survival sub-species they identify as the west-slope.
It was all originally spawned from the “experiment” in 2003 and 2004 to poison pristine Cherry Lake producing large Yellowstone cutthroat trout inside the Lee Metcalf Wilderness area and 77 miles of pristine diversified fishery in pristine waters of upper Cherry Creek, which flows into the Madison River. I fished both areas as a youngster and it was a fabulous wild fishery then. What has that early “boondoggle” produced after millions of fisheries dollars spent with contributions of Ted Turner -- there’s nothing there now and perhaps the brook trout returned hopefully?
As of today we still do not have a sustainable hybrid west-slope population available for sport fishing in any stream, lake or river where the same boondoggles have occurred; it is an ongoing fisheries failure producing no sport fishing now or for the future. This single hybrid subspecies, a hatchery-reared subspecies, will not survive in the diversified environments of Montana waters. Low survival and reintroduced in the same water over and over with little success. FWP is bent on a single subspecies, a mono-culture in a diversified environment. I have asked FWP to send the list of streams where this has been successful. No reply. Twin Lakes near Wisdom was a great brook trout fishery. What happened there, FWP?
During the Cherry Lake–Cherry Creek boondoggle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated the west-slope does not qualify for threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, true to this day. In the meantime Montana has lost diversified wild trout fisheries and many sport fishing opportunities especially for youngsters. Still available on YouTube is “Dead Wrong.” Please view it now! FWP is “dead wrong” to this day. FWP wants free reign to place rotenone and other toxic pesticides in pristine water classified in Montana as “outstanding resource water” and associated pristine habitat. These poisons are retained in wetlands for years.
In Montana the Yellowstone cutthroat, Montana’s state fish, is still classified as an S2 species and a higher rating than S3 for the hybrid west-slope. Rotenone is extremely toxic pesticide especially in flowing water and the Nature Neuroscience journal reported Parkinson’s disease results from toxins in the environment from the use of this pesticide. FWP states little concern -- they will use it anyway for the “experiment.” FWP will not mention the impacts to avian species, mammals, invertebrate as the sculpin and, of course, the human risk which they have no data on for the area before poisoning. “Poison and see what happens.” Is that science?
FWP has lost its way today. What was once a fisheries management and game management agency no longer exists, with its all “environmental experiments” and nonsense. However, FWP receives most all its funding -- 75 percent -- from those who buy fishing and hunting licenses and equipment under the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts. Sportsmen are funding FWP to destroy the very resource that provides sport fishing now and for the future.
What is so evil about managing our Montana fishery resource in place and working? Perhaps FWP personnel should be working for some environmental organization. No Endangered Species Act dollars available since the hybrid west-slope doesn’t qualify under the ESA for federal money, but FWP using sportsmen dollars today is a “betrayal of the trust.’’ FWP wants the sportsmen money used for more “experiments,’’ studies and personnel which overrides the existing resource.
When you buy a fishing license and fishing equipment, you could be paying for poisoning and introducing a hybrid sub-species that will never survive or provide fishing opportunity -- a bureaucratic betrayal of the public trust. FWP is due for a complete overhaul.
-- Jack D. Jones, Butte, worked as a wildlife biologist in Montana for 36 years with the Bureau of Land Management.