Non-native trout to be poisoned

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. Poison may be applied for the next three years to a creek in the Sierra Nevada in an effort to protect what is considered the rarest trout species in the United States if not the world.

On Silver King Creek, which feeds into the Carson River, the Paiute cutthroat trout, which is on the U.S. list of threatened species, is being crowded out by trout introduced by settlers in the last 160 years. Biologists last year shocked, netted and transplanted about 500 of the non-native trout.

But to rid the stream of the non-natives, California fish biologists say they need to apply low levels of a fish poison, Rotenone, on about 11 miles of the creek and tributaries. An environmental assessment done by the Forest Service condones the plan by California's state biologists after concluding that the "use of chemicals to remove non-natives from historical Paiute cutthroat habitats is the only method that is likely to be successful."

The Animal News Center in February noted that Rotenone was used in an unsuccessful attempt to eradicate northern pike from Lake Davis in the Sierra Nevada in 1997. Non-native Silver King Creek trout have also survived prior Rotenone poisonings in 1964, 1977 and 1991-1993. There is no explanation in any of the current accounts as to why biologists think the poisoning now being planned will prove any different.

Even if it does prove effective, not everybody is persuaded this is the right thing to do. At least one retired professor of aquatic ecology has protested. But one operator of a fishing ranch, Brad Davis, agreed. "You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet," he told the Tahoe Daily Tribune . "We love the fish in there, but in order to take the Paiute cutthroat off the threatened species list, that's the way to do it."

If the proposed recovery plan's projections are correct, the trout could be removed from the endangered species list by 2013 when it has reached a stable, self-sustaining population level.

Officers seek paintball perpetrators

FRISCO The U.S. Forest Service is looking for the combatants in a paintball battle near Frisco. Dozens of trees were marred with paint, and hundreds of uncharged paint balls were left lying on the forest floor.

In the sport, which is growing in popularity, teams of players engage in a game similar to tag, but use guns called "markers" to shoot balls of vegetable-based biodegradable paint.

Just how damaging to the environment is it? From the comments by foresters to the Summit Daily News , the paint is seen as akin to litter. The owner of a store in Frisco that sells the paintballs noted that the paintballs are biodegradable. However, neither rain nor snow removed all the paint from trees and rocks. Aluminum cans are also biodegradable, noted Forest Service employee Ken Waugh, but it takes 50 years.

Idaho company gets Iraq contract

HAILEY, Idaho The ski valleys of the West have experienced first-hand the horrors of war. Earlier this year a ski instructor at Winter Park who had gone to work for a civilian contractor died in a firefight in Iraq.

A different side of the war is found in a report by the Idaho Mountain Express . A company called Power Engineers Inc., which is partly based in Hailey, a down-valley town to Ketchum and Sun Valley, has been awarded three contracts totaling $1.5 billion. The company is to provide engineering to help get the Iraqi electrical supply and distribution system back online.

Sunrise ceremony heals the earth

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. A rainbow's coalition of 200 people white, Hispanic, American Indian, black, and Asian gathered at sunrise to try and heal the Earth of the stresses man has put onto it. Organized by Bennie LeBeau, a Shoshone tribe elder, the medicine wheel ceremony attracted people from across the West.

LeBeau bemoaned the development and loss of balance with nature, comparing America's current state to the lost city of Atlantis. "If we don't stop what we're doing, we will perish as they did," he said.

After the ceremony, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide , LeBeau said he thought the ceremony had succeeded. "The earthquakes, the shaking and rattling will cease," he said. "I believe we accomplished our goals, but it's up to the people of the world to understand the energies and the importance of earth knowledges."

Mobile home residents evicted

WOOD RIVER VALLEY, Idaho Every year there's another couple of stories from ski valleys about trailer parks evicting their tenants. The first one this year comes from the Sun Valley area, where the owners of one of the remaining eight trailer courts has decided to find another use for the land rather than invest in a deteriorating sanitation system.

For some residents, moving the trailers would cost about as much as the trailers are worth. Given that the cost of housing has been rising much more rapidly than wages, the outcome is predictable. Tenants are reported by the Idaho Mountain Express to be reviewing their options with lawyers, but they appear to have very few.

Glacier crevasse claims skier's life

CANMORE, Alberta A Canmore man was killed while skiing on a glacier in British Columbia when he fell into a snow-obscured crevasse.

Bob Enagonio, 48, fell into the crevasse on the Deville Glacier in Glacier National Park as he and four other skiers were on a week-long trip in the Rogers Pass area. They were doing a variation of the classic Bugaboos to Rogers Pass ski traverse, described in Chic Scott's book Summits and Icefields , as one of the most magnificent in western Canada. Enagonio had done that route twice before.

A former teacher in Vermont, he was described not as the sort of athlete whose name and activities are frequently reported, but rather one of those "who measured his accomplishments in the outdoors by sharing his unbounded enthusiasm with his friends."

Tuberculosis arrives in Colorado

GRANBY A woman from Africa employed at a resort between Granby and Winter Park has been identified as having an active case of tuberculosis. As required by Colorado regulations, she will be quarantined for six months in a trailer or in a room, but if in a room, it cannot share a ventilation system with any other rooms. Also, the woman can have no visitors inside the room. Health officials, reported the Winter Park Manifest , are testing the 275 estimated people who had contact with her.

compiled by Allen Best





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