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Bull trout critical habitat extended

Published On: 10/14/2010

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expands critical habitat protections for bull trout.

On October 12, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expanded critical habitat protections for the bull trout, which will restrict federal approval of logging, mining and grazing on large areas of Western public lands. The bull trout is actually a char whose numbers have fallen 60 percent largely from logging, mining, dam construction and livestock grazing.

The ruling protects 19,000 miles of streams, five times as many as protected under a 2005 rule, and 490,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs, three times more than before. It includes mostly federal lands in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada but leaves 754 miles of marine shoreline in Washington unprotected due to U.S. Navy operations.

Montana conservation groups first petitioned Fish and Wildlife in 1992 to list the fish as a threatened species and won seven lawsuits since then in relation to the bull trout's habitat. This last critical habitat designation means the only thing left to finish is a recovery plan.

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