Bull trout planning

Bull trout came up as a side-topic elsewhere, but it should also be a hot forest planning topic in the northwest.

The 2012 Planning Rule requires the Forest Service to “provide the ecological conditions necessary to contribute to the recovery of federally listed threatened and endangered species …”   The roadmap for accomplishing this should be the recovery plans required by ESA (“unless (the Secretary) finds that such a plan will not promote the conservation of the species”).  Bull trout were listed in 1999 and there is no final recovery plan yet.  A lawsuit has been filed to compel completion of a recovery plan (article on the lawsuit here, background on bull trout here).

With forest plans being revised across the northwest, the Forest Service should be doing what it can to help get the recovery plan done.  Draft recovery plans have prioritized the areas most important for bull trout, and this information should be used by the Forest Service now to identify in forest plans the places to emphasize aquatic resources.  Forest plans completed prior to a recovery plan would then need to be assessed against the new plan and possibly amended.  (Perhaps the FS should encourage the FWS to settle the lawsuit?)

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