Monday, August 18, 2008

Big Hole Watershed Committee: killing fluvial Arctic grayling

Today's Grayling Survival Index = - 55. River flows at Wisdom are far below the lower inflection point of 60 cubic feet per second--the minimum flow needed to maintain the population. Equally bad, daytime water temperatures are well over 70 deg F--a lethal temperature for grayling.

In bars around the Big Hole River, the topic of low water in the river comes up a lot. When the bar patrons include a lot of anglers and guides, usually someone will say something like, "Yeah, them ranchers take all the water they can and pull the river down as much as possible. The sooner grayling become totally extinct, the sooner ranchers don't have to worry about an Endangered Species Act listing any longer..."

While I can't buy into cynicism that runs quite that deep, there is no doubt that the Big Hole Watershed Committee is almost totally ineffective when it comes to keeping any water in the upper river around Wisdom, Montana--critical habitat for the last self-sustaining population of native fluvial Arctic grayilng in the lower 48states.

So much for "voluntary" cooperation and the millions of dollars in federal money that the Big Hole Watershed Committee has received through earmark appropriations.

Let's hope that Senator Jon Testor (D-MT) doesn't become co-opted by the Big Hole Watershed Committee, and end up filling the role of pork-barrel-shoveller that former Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) filled.

No comments: