AWR Blog

contact Michael Garrity, Executive Director, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, (406) 459-5936

Boulder, UT — “We’re pleased to announce that the Forest Service has reversed its decision to proceed with its plan to dump rotenone, a fish-killing poison, into East Boulder Creek on Boulder Mountain in southern Utah,” said Michael Garrity, executive director of the Helena, MT, based Alliance for the Wild Rockies. The Alliance received the withdrawal notice in a letter dated November 22, 2011.

Boulder Creek flows year round from Boulder Mountain into the Grand Staircase Escalate National Monument and is a very popular fishery. In 2009 the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR) proposed dumping rotenone into East Boulder Creek for three consecutive years to kill non-native brook trout and replace them with Colorado Cutthroat trout. This summer Robert G. MacWhorter, Dixie National Forest Supervisor, signed the Decision Notice (DN) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), approving the East Boulder Creek Native Trout Restoration Project.

The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, the Boulder Town Council, a Boulder-area farmer and 17 other individuals filed formal Appeals of the project with the Regional Forester. The Alliance’s appeal specifically detailed the various ways in which the “poison and plant” proposal violated the National Forest Management Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and even the agency’s own Forest Plan.

“Poisoning entire water bodies — and especially flowing streams — severely alters biodiversity and causes a broad loss of taxa and species from those ecosystems. Basically, the rotenone kills not just the target brook trout, but also the aquatic insects upon which the stream’s ecosystem relies as well as any amphibians unfortunate enough to be there when the poison is applied,” Garrity explained. “The agencies are responsible for all species on the national forest, not just a few select game species. Focusing on one species of trout to the detriment of countless other organisms and ecosystem biodiversity and structure as a whole impairs the natural resources and wildlife of the Dixie National Forest for future generations.”

“We appreciate that Forest Service listened to our concerns,” said Garrity. “We are very supportive of efforts to restore native species throughout the Rockies, but not through ‘poison and plant’ experiments that have had a very low success rate on flowing streams.” “Now we hope to work with the Dixie National Forest and Boulder residents on methods such as lifting catch limits and sponsoring fishing derbies to reduce the brook trout population,” Garrity concluded. “Then the agencies can reintroduce the Colorado Cutthroat Trout without poisoning the entire stream and its associated riparian wetlands.”

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