Obama administration reverses Bush policy on bull trout habitat

From the Missoulian - GRANTS PASS, Ore. - The Obama administration on Tuesday greatly expanded protections for waterways critical to the restoration of threatened bull trout, making it tougher for agencies to approve logging, mining and livestock grazing across a large swath of federal land in the West. The final rule issued by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service represented a major expansion of the streams, lakes and reservoirs protected as critical habitat for the fish, primarily on federal lands in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Nevada, and a reversal of Bush administration policy on endangered species. The new ruling protects 19,000 miles of streams, which is five times more than the 2005 rule, and 490,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs, which is more than three times greater than previously ordered. An economic analysis estimates the habitat protections will increase federal government spending $5 million to $7.6 million a year over the next 20 years. Costs include more time for biologists to consider if federal projects will harm bull trout habitat, and for restoring habitat, improving fish passage around dams primarily in Oregon's Willamette Valley, and changing forest management. Read more


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