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Bull trout

Support critical habitat protections for bull trout in Washington. Among other things, bull trout need very clean and cold water to survive.

Bull trout on the Little Lost River. Photo by Bart GammetBull trout are one of the best indicators of high quality aquatic habitat. To survive, these native char need very clean and cold water, complex habitat conditions (large wood, stable stream banks, deep pools), and watershed habitat connectivity for seasonal migrations between spawning and rearing sites. In the late 1990s, bull trout were listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened with extinction.

Other key points:

  • Portions of the bull trout’s historic range that are not currently occupied, have sporadic records, or have low densities must be protected to ensure full recovery, especially resident populations and aquatic habitat that connects core habitat areas.
  • Federal and other public lands provide key habitat for bull trout and should be included in the critical habitat designation.
  • While Habitat Conservation Plans help limit harm to bull trout habitat, they generally are not sufficiently protective to provide for bull trout recovery, and should receive critical habitat protections.
  • Protect all river and tributary habitats where bull trout currently occur including Kettle River, San Poil River, Okanogan River, Willapa River, Dosewallips River, Quileute and Calawah Rivers, the tributaries of Hood Canal, Lake Chelan, and Lake Roosevelt (including Sherman, Hawk, Onion, and Sheep Creek), and where bull trout were historically present (including Spokane River and Stehekin River).
  • Currently, the bull trout is occupying only half of its historic range. The new proposal would designate 23,000 miles of streams and 533,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs as critical habitat in the greater Northwest, including many streams around the Puget Sound and Clark Fork River Basin. This would more than quadruple their current protected habitat. Additionally, 1,000 miles of marine shoreline in Washington would be included under the new protection.
  • Bull trout are considered one of the top 10 species in America most threatened by climate change. Protecting further miles of stream habitat for bull trout should help them in the face of climate change and the likely attendant warming of river waters.

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