Trout wriggles into a sagebrush rebellion

  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raised the stakes in a conflict between environmentalists and Elko County, Nev., in June, when it proposed critical habitat for the endangered bull trout along the Jarbidge River. The agency proposed designating 131 miles of streams in Idaho and Nevada as critical habitat — which sets aside land essential to the survival of an endangered species, and may bring special management restrictions — after being sued by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of Wild Swan.

Within the habitat sits South Canyon Road, a mile-and-a-half long dirt road that washed out in 1995, and now lies at the center of a running feud over county rights. The Forest Service halted its plans to rebuild the road in 1998 after Trout Unlimited raised concerns that sediment from another washout could threaten bull trout. The construction delay prompted numerous attempts by shovel-wielding county-rights activists to rebuild the road.

Now, the Fish and Wildlife Service must weigh the options in a forthcoming environmental impact statement on rebuilding the road, before the Forest Service formally releases it this fall.

"I don’t think (critical habitat designation) is going to make a significant difference with respect to road options," says Bob Williams, the Fish and Wildlife Service’s state supervisor in Nevada. "The listing of the critical habitat in and of itself does not stop anything."

Michael Garrity, executive director of Alliance for the Wild Rockies, disagrees, pointing out that development projects in critical habitat face a higher level of scrutiny before they can proceed. Under the Endangered Species Act alone, "they just have to show the species won’t go extinct," Garrity says. "With critical habitat, they have to show it won’t hurt the habitat."
High Country News Classifieds
  • MEMBERSHIP MANAGER
    For more information visit www. wyofile.com/careers/
  • THRIVING LOCAL HEALTH FOOD STORE FOR SALE
    Turn-key business opportunity. Successful well established business with room to grow. Excellent highway visibility.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    For more information, visit www.wyofile.com/careers/
  • SONORAN INSTITUTE, CEO
    Chief Executive Officer Tucson, Arizona ABOUT SONORAN INSTITUTE Since 1990, the Sonoran Institute has brought together diverse interests to successfully forge effective and enduring conservation...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING www.westernlaw.org/about-us/clinic-interns-careers The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a high-impact, nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a 27-year legacy using...
  • PROJECT MANAGER
    Position Summary Join our Team at the New Mexico Land Conservancy! We're seeking a Project Manager who will work to protect land and water across...
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AND MARKETING
    High Country News seeks a Director of Product and Marketing to join our senior team during an exciting chapter of innovation and growth. This individual...
  • OUTREACH DIRECTOR
    Upper Missouri Waterkeeper seeks an Outreach Director to play a key role designing and leading activities and initiatives that engage citizens in water resource decisionmaking,...
  • WILDLIFE HAVEN
    Beautiful acreage with Teton Creek flowing through it. Springs and ponds, lots of trees, moose and deer. Property has barn. Easy access. approx. 33 acres.
  • ARIZONA CONSERVATION CORPS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Arizona Conservation Corps is seeking a Program Director in Flagstaff or Tucson
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...