Montana Trout - Tough Love Why it makes sense to kill some...

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32 | March/April2004 | Montana Outdoors Tough Love Why it makes sense to kill some fish in order to save others Tough Love Why it makes sense to kill some fish in order to save others By Brian Marotz CATARACTCREEK,ATTHEOUTLETOFWOODWARDLAKEINTHEBOBMARSHALLWILDERNESS,BYMICHAELJ.WOLF
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Montana Outdoors | March/April2004 | I looked around for a rope, because I didn’t think he was kidding. I was visiting the 91- year-old Kalispellresident whose letter to the editor, entitled “BumblingBiologists,” had been printed in the Daily Inter Lake newspa- per that day.The letter took Montana FWP to task for our proposalto use a chemical fish toxin in some wilderness lakes to kill rainbow and Yellowstonecutthroat trout.The nonna- tive fish threaten one of the last strongholds of westslope cutthroat trout in the South Fork of the Flathead River. “Sportsmen and citizens must get together and stop this,” the letter had proclaimed, expressing a viewpoint common among those who remember how mining waste and chemicals damaged streams in Montana and elsewhere in the West. “The biologists have already ruined our fishing here with their stream poisoning. There are no salmon flies, mayflies, or hellgrammites left. Fish must eat to live, same as anything else.” But what FWP was doing was entirely different, and I had made the visit to explain the difference to an obviously concerned citizen. “Hello Mr.Hollopeter,”I said, when he answered the front door. “I’mthe ‘bumbling biologist’ you wrote about in the paper.” “Speak up will ya? Rose! Come help me with this darned hearing aid!” His wife offered me coffee and cookies as she got him situated. “I saw your letter to the editor in the paper today, and I see we’ve got something in common,” I said. I’m sure he was wondering, What could I possibly have in common with a whipper- snapper biologist who says he wants to poison streams? I reminded him that he had writ- ten, “The biologists have planted all kinds of foreign fish… rainbow was one of the worst. If we don’tkeep [those fish] out of the primitive areas, we can say goodbye to fishing and hunting.” That, I explained, is precisely the ration- ale for our proposal. Many of the 21 lakes FWP has targeted for eliminating hybrid trout over the next ten years are in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Yes, it may seem pre- posterous to propose poisoning lakes in a wilderness area. I knew Hollo-peter thought so. But our proposal is not as crazy as it seems, and I wanted him to under- stand why it makes sense. Hollopeter told me he was born in 1912. His family came from Oregon by wagon train to the Swan River valley in 1916. Back then, State Highway 83 was a pack trail, with just a few Englishmen and Finlanders homesteading the area. Todaythe Swan Highway carries RVs outfitted with TVs and air conditioning, and the valley is dot- ted with a growing number of cabins and retirement homes. Times have changed dra- matically for the people in the area. And also for the westslope cutthroat
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This note was uploaded on 03/11/2010 for the course PS 225 taught by Professor Pahre,r during the Fall '08 term at University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.

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Montana Trout - Tough Love Why it makes sense to kill some...

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