Comment sought on bull trout proposals
(Note: Butch Otter has been a pro-people person during his time in
He is asking for our help in adding our voices to this issue, one
that is not
only important to his state and to his constituents, but is also vital
issues of land/water use. He also votes on issues that pertain to
state and my state, your issues and my issues.)
February 19, 2003
By U.S. Representative Butch Otter (R-Idaho)
Contact: Mark Warbis, 208-336-9831
BOISE, Idaho - It happens time and again. A federal agency or environmental
group notices a fish, flower or field mouse hasn't been around quite
They decide the only solution is government intervention.
The public is asked what it thinks.
A few folks air concerns, but only the bureaucrats' views make much
Finally, land-use restrictions are imposed that wreak havoc on the
livelihoods of hardworking citizens -- innocent bystanders in the
the Endangered Species Act.
The people of Oregon's Klamath Basin know the story.
So do thousands of loggers and mill workers whose jobs once were
of Idaho's rural economy.
Ask them about the Endangered Species Act and you might get an icy
Then they'll tell you what they think.
The law that put northern spotted owls and black-footed ferrets on
has a way of getting people talking. Unfortunately, the listening
end of the
equation has been a little light.
Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comments
on a draft
recovery plan in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana for bull trout,
was designated a threatened species in 1998. Comments also are being
on a proposed "critical habitat" designation for areas considered
for saving bull trout, including the Panhandle and much of central
designation requires consultation with the Fish and Wildlife Service
any land management action is implemented, funded or even authorized
As you might expect, "consultation" can be cumbersome,
expensive. It can delay or block important projects designed to make
public lands healthier and more sustainable. What's more, some of
9,000 miles of streams and more than 205,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs
within Idaho's proposed critical habitat area contain no bull trout,
contained bull trout and -- in some cases -- are prevented by natural
barriers from ever being home to bull trout.
So, the proposed designation's scope is far too large. Use of land
no business being included will be subject to the closest government
scrutiny, and the public is being asked to weigh in without a thorough
economic analysis of the cost.
Something similar happened in the Klamath Basin. The U.S. Bureau
Reclamation refused to deliver water to drought-stricken farmers there
2001 because minimum pools had to be maintained for endangered sucker
Families who had protected and improved the land for generations were
Now shift that outcome onto the Boise and Payette river drainages.
With drought a constant threat here, should the future of so many
neighbors be put at risk by broad-brush efforts to save a fish that
is being helped by measures protecting other salmonids?
While the system is imperfect, only by weighing in can anyone hope
to make a
difference. Nobody wants Idaho to lose its bull trout. But many of
want Idaho to lose its jobs or families either. Please help me make
for common sense -- for including people in the equation.
Written comments on the proposed critical habitat designation can
to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: John Young, Bull Trout Coordinator,
911 N.E. 11th Avenue, Portland, Ore., 97232. They also can be faxed
Young at 503-231-2218, or sent via email to R1BullTroutCH@r1.fws.gov
The deadline is May 12, 2003.
Written comments on the draft recovery plan can be mailed to: U.S.
Wildlife Service, Snake River Basin Office, Attn: Robert Ruesink,
Vinnell Way, Room 368, Boise, Idaho, 83709. They also can be faxed
Ruesink at 208-378-5262, or sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
deadline is March 29.
I also would appreciate receiving a copy of any comments you submit
independent record. They can be mailed to: 802 W. Bannock Street,
Boise, Idaho, 83702. They also can be faxed to 208-336-9891, or sent
email to email@example.com