The US Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced they were declining to list the California Golden Trout as endangered, and while a denied ESA listing is often cause for anxiety among conservationists, in this case the news is better than it sounds.
For the last ten years — ever since Trout Unlimited filed a petition for listing the golden trout in 2001 — private groups like TU, CalTrout, the Federation of Fly Fishers, Orvis and others have worked with government agencies to remove threats to the California Golden Trout.
These threats include overgrazing, hybridization and competition from stocked trout and others. Many of these threats have been (or are in the process of being) eliminated.
We’re not taking the California Golden Trout’s future for granted; we’re in agreement with Trout Unlimited’s Howard Kern, who said (in an LA Times Article):
“If there were no collaborative recovery efforts underway, as was the case in 2001, we would be furious,” Kern said.
“However, we are pleased with all the collaborative activity surrounding this fish right now. If it stalls later, we will absolutely go after the federal government with another petition for listing.”
A collaborative approach to Golden Trout recovery is working, and while we’re not yet out of the woods, we’re seeing real progress.