Friday, March 27, 2015

South Dakota wildlife killers want non-native fish in Missouri basin

There has been considerable flap over attempts by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to close the DC Booth Hatchery in Spearditch, especially when facility is well-supported by tourists and locals alike. But, it's hard to imagine the Service continuing to support the release of hybrid and non-native trout by South Dakota's Department of Game, Fish & Parking Lot Construction when native species are being threatened in the Missouri River basin.
The hatcheries were slated to receive 20,000 Atlantic salmon eggs apiece this year from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hatchery in New Hampshire. The first Atlantic salmon would have been reared at the hatchery for nearly a year before being stocked into Lake Oahe in 2016. They would take the place of roughly 40,000 of the Chinook salmon the GFP currently raises. That way there is no net increase of salmon in Lake Oahe, just a new species. [Pierre Capital Journal]
Chinook and Atlantic salmon are not native to the Missouri River, northern pike not indigenous to South Dakota's portion of the waterway.

It is said that trout are not native to the Hills: how that can be remains a mystery as cutthroat lived in the Platte to the south and Powder to the north. One explanation might be the concentrations of dissolved metals in the local hydrology.

There is no evidence of native trout in the Little Missouri flowing north out of the Wyoming sage steppe, either. As the Black Hills has never been glaciated, the continual use of fire on the Black Hills by human inhabitants for the last ten thousand years may have rendered ancient fisheries unable to sustain salmonids: perhaps those factors combined.
Mike Cummings believes anglers should have a wider variety of game fish to go after when fishing in Black Hills reservoirs — and one of the species he is pushing is the highly sought-after walleye. Cummings, owner of The Rooster bait and tackle shop in Rapid City, said a proposed 5-year South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department management plan for Black Hills reservoir fishing puts too much emphasis on management of trout. [Rapid City Journal]
Walleye was introduced to the Missouri River concurrent with the construction of the main stem dams.
Walleye was first reported in Wyoming in 1961 from Seminoe Reservoir in the upper North Platte River. The fish were swept downstream and are now established in a 450-km stretch of river (McMahon and Bennett 1996). The walleye was stocked illegally in Canyon Ferry Reservoir, Montana, and was found first circa 1991 (White, personal communication). More recently, the species also was illegally stocked in Noxon Reservoir on the Clark Fork of the Columbia River, Montana (McMahon and Bennett 1996). Illegal introductions seem to be a growing problem in western states (McMahon and Bennett 1996). [USGS, nonindigenous aquatic species]
Native fish like pallid sturgeon are in danger of extirpation in the dam-choked Missouri River.

It's the opinion of this interested party that USFWS should block releases of these fish into any part of the system but preventing the community to find a way to finance rearing for private ponds would be unthinkable.

How a GOP-owned agency like SDGF&P is enabled instead of being sued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service remains a mystery.


Anonymous said...

Hey Larry,

What's next GMO Trout? We already have Asian Carp in the Jim River

Missed you in Rapid City! We had a very good turnout for the SDDP Town Hall Meeting.


larry kurtz said...

Frankenfish as a food crop in South Dakota, Lynn? Don't rule it out.

There was talk of raising tilapia in Philip using the geothermal hot water under the town to heat raceways but don't know if that happened.

Had to put my trip to Rapid off for a week or so: will be there soon enough. Who all was there?

Anonymous said...

Sorry was racing around Rapid yesterday and then on the road all day. Going to Sioux Falls today. You can get my cell # from Cory or you can email me though my internet access will be limited for a few days.