Fisheries Conservation photo

Killing Trout to Save Trout

We all remember our parents telling us “doing the right thing sometimes hurts.” No one needs to tell that to rainbow trout in New Mexico’s Rio Las Animas. The state’s Game Commission recently approved a program to use rotenone to rid the river of non-native species like rainbows in an effort to keep the native Rio Grande cutthroat trout – also the official state fish – from being pushed onto the endangered species list. Of course, all fish will be killed including the cuts. The river will then be restocked with pure strain Rio Grande cuts. The program was outlined in this earlier report.

The push to restore non-native species at the cost of some introduced species highly valued by anglers has slowly won over the support of sportsmen’s groups. This story gives a more thorough conservation reasoning for the projects – that can still feel painful to some anglers.

Old Rigs, New Reefs

The Deepwater Horizon disaster highlighted the serious threat offshore oil development poses to the marine and coastal environments, but offshore anglers also know this: Those rigs also act as artificial reefs to attract new and old prime sport species. It’s no wonder they support Sen. David Vitter’s (R-LA) Rigs to Reefs Habitat Protection Act. The proposal would exempt non-producing offshore platforms from current law requiring their removal if it is determined there are coral populations, or species that have recreational or commercial value.

The act suggests solutions to issues of navigational hazards and liability that currently require owners the costly process of removing the platforms and hauling them ashore. It largely mimics a Louisiana rigs-to-reefs law that was highly successful — until Gov. Bobby Jindal raided the fund this year to plug a hole in the state’s budget.
Toxic Storm Warnings**

Sportsmen in the Northeast are about to learn what their southern brothers have long known: The damage from tropical storms lingers long after the winds abate and the storm surge recedes. Bruised forests, clogged hunting trails, lost boat ramps and battered habitat are some of the issues. But state and federal officials in the Northeast see a more serious threat: The release of toxic substances into rivers, streams, lakes and forests.