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Coaster Brook Trout Denied Endangered Status

2009 June 25

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has denied endangered status protection to the coaster brook trout. The USFWS had been asked by the Sierra Club and the Huron Mountain Club, as joint petitioners, to list coaster brook trout as an endangered species. The determination was rendered on the basis of two factors: the USFWS concluded that coasters are not a distinct population segment and that they do not make up a significant portion of the range of brook trout. The satisfaction of these conditions would be required for protection under the law.

As the USFWS press release notes, “Coaster brook trout are brook trout that spend a portion of their life cycle in the Great Lakes.  At one time, there were more than 50 runs in the U.S. waters of Lake Superior.  They were also found in Lakes Huron and Michigan, where they are now extirpated.  Today, there are four known populations in the U.S. waters of Lake Superior, all in Michigan:  one in the Salmon Trout River in the Upper Peninsula and three on Isle Royale.”  Overall there are a total of 15 stream-spawning and three lake-spawning populations known to exist within the larger watershed, including Canada.

The Sierra Club and the Huron Mountain Club have made it clear that they intend to challenge this decision.

More information about the decision along with more on the process is available at the USFWS website.

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