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marcia8.jpg.jpg (10768 bytes) Ridin' Point

- a weekly column published in the Siskiyou Daily News on September 4, 2012


The incredible stretching Endangered Species Act:

The incredible stretching Endangered Species Act: Is the Endangered Species Act being used to protect true declining native species or to exert power and control over privately owned natural resources?

Coho salmon: Regardless of whether you believe coho salmon is native to the Klamath River system, there is a real question as to whether today’s coho are native salmon. Figure 2 from NOAA Technical Memorandum 17, (Application of DNA Technology to the management of Pacific Salmon,) indicates that Klamath River Iron Gate Hatchery stocks are genetically related to coho of the South Puget Sound, North Oregon and Washington Coast cluster. Iron Gate Hatchery (IGH) coho were determined to be of an entirely different genetic cluster than the Rogue River and Cowlitz coho, which are in the Southern Oregon Northern California Coho unit. http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/publications/techmemos/tm17/figures/bermfig2.htm

This is actually consistent with the history of artificial coho plantings in the Klamath system which are mentioned in Chapter 5 of the Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force Long Range Plan (LRP) and Appendix D of the 2002 state listing analysis done by the CA Dept. of Fish and Game: Historical Occurrence of Coho Salmon in the Upper Klamath, Shasta and Scott Rivers. http://users.sisqtel.net/armstrng/native%20Klamath%20coho.htm

A 1994 report called the “Historic Decline and Current Status of Coho Salmon in California” stated:

"Like the Iron Gate stock, the Trinity River stock is primarily of nonnative origin. The first significant planting was of Eel River stock in 1964, followed by Cascade River (Oregon) stocks in 1966, 1967, and 1970. Noyo River (California) stock was planted along with Cascade River fish in 1970, and Alsea River (Oregon) stock was planted along with Cascade River fish in 1970…"

These non-native fish were widely outplanted in our tributaries...According to the LRP: "From 1979 to 1988 the average number of coho juveniles planted was 670,531 annually. Plants ranged from a high of 1,198,696 in 1981 to a low of 156,150 in 1984..."

Proposed Listing of the Gray Wolf: On another front, the federal government has listed the gray or “timber” wolf (Canis lupus) as an endangered species and the State of California is in the process of considering it for state listing. Keep in mind that there was a museum search in CA for specimens in 1916 and only two were located. Most of the specimens brought in turned out to be large mountain coyotes. Although early explorers and settlers recorded seeing wolves, it is not clear whether these were actually wolves or the large coyotes that live in our mountains (canis latrans lestes.)

In 1922, a wolf was collected from San Bernardino County. It is likely from the description that that this was a Mexican wolf (Canis baileyi.) The only other wolf specimen collected was in Lassen County in 1924. The two specimen’s that were located were both under 100 pounds in size. The Lassen wolf is the last known wild wolf ever trapped in California, except for an adult male weighing 56 pounds trapped in Tulare County in 1962. (This was assumed to be an introduced wolf of Southeast Asian origin.) Nevertheless, a CA Dept of Fish and Game (DFG) report concludes that: “wolves were not abundant, even though they were widely distributed, in California. http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/nongame/wolf/docs/Gray_Wolf_Report_2012.pdf

So the question arises what is the origin of the wolves coming into California that the federal government and the DFG wants to protect as endangered? In 1995-96, sixty eight Mackenzie Valley wolves captured in Alberta, Canada were released in Yellowstone. Historically, the native male wolf (Canis lupus irremotus) of the Northern Rockies averaged around 90 to 95 pounds at maturity. These native wolves ranged about 100 square miles, hunting alone or in small packs of four-five at the most. Small pockets of this native species still existed in the Rockies when the Alberta strain was introduced. Mature males of the Alberta Canada sub-species often top 140-150 plus pounds, typically hunt 300 or more square miles, with packs often numbering 20 or more.

The total population of wolves in Canada exceeds 50,000, with a large percentage if these consisting of the Alberta sub-species Canis lupus occidentalis. They are not endangered and they are not native. This Canadian subspecies is the gray wolf the federal government has protected as endangered and the one California is currently considering for Endangered Species Act protection.

Social and Economic Impact Spotted Owl Critical Habitat: On behalf of the western counties, a detailed comment has been submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the social and economic impact of the proposed expansion of critical habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl. Siskiyou County is featured. Please note, the comment is 0 large but can be downloaded here: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/30650836/Sierra%20Instsitute%20Comments%20Final%20Report%208-20-12.pdf



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              Page Updated: Tuesday September 04, 2012 01:48 AM  Pacific

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