re: Re: protection of brown trout information/referral (fwd)

Peter J. Unmack (springfish at mail.utexas.edu)
Tue, 13 Feb 1996 20:22:21 -0600

>Peter, while it certainly would seem that the protection and preservation of
>native species would be a more noble project,

Agreed.

>finding fault with a project
>with the stated purpose of preserving open lands and limiting parking lots in
>a county bordering the urban/suburban sprawl of D.C. seems a bit mis-guided.

Hey, I'm all for creating parks and open lands. That had nothing to do with
my argument regarding habitat improvement for exotic fish. Open lands and
parks can be just as easily created for native fish too.

>This especially when compounded with assumptions about existing or displaced
>native species, and the possibility that introduced exotics are having a
>negative impact on the "Garden of Eden" ecosystem that should be available in
>Montgomery County, Maryland.

I'm sure that Maryland is not the only place where habitat improvement for
exotic species goes on.

>The fact of the matter is that a great deal of
>the concern for and funding of projects to protect and preserve lakes and
>rivers in this country - and the diversity of flora and fauna that they
>support - comes directly out of the pockets of anglers. And, anglers like to
>fish for trout.

If I was given the choice between a degraded stream with nothing versus one
with exotic trout I would go for the trout. However, I would strongly push
for works benefiting native species also irrespective of whether or not they
are trout or a non angling species. An alternative, compramising position
would be the improvement of habitat for both.

>If the folks in Maryland are asking for information that will
>help them improve the water quality their portion of the Potomac River's
>watershed to a level that will support and protect brown trout, we should
>respect their efforts and offer our assistence rather than criticize their
>good intentions.

I was not criticising the folks asking for information (not intentionally at
least), merely commenting on the irony of it. I was not trying to be
specifically critical of _this_ project, just the philosophy of spending
money that appeared to be strickly focused on exotic fish (from an aquatic
perspective).

[second response]

>The question than becomes whether a
>non-native, established salmonid filling the ecological role of an extant
>native in an altered system is better than an altered system with this
>vacant niche. I'm not certain I know the answer to this, especially when
>much of the public, rightly or wrongly, worships the exotic.

>Finally,
>while agree that altering habitat to protect the brown trout at the
>expense of native fish is not a smart idea, protecting trout habitat in
>an altered suburban stream which once supported native trout, if properly
>carried out will likely benefit other native species as well.

But no one ever seems to work on this aspect or push the concept. It is
always just assumed (if that much) that native species, or at least some of
them may benefit. Probably some do. Imagine what some innovative research
might be able to show in improving overall habitat restoration work for as
many species as possible, not just one.

Hooroo

Peter