This West Is OUR West

Red in the Morning, Fisherman Take Warning


By Jim Beers

Modern Fisherman Humor:

Question; If an animal without a backbone is called an invertebrate: what do you call men, or an organization for that matter, without guts?

Answer: You call them “dead”.


Fishermen and “their” organizations like the below-mentioned “Trout Unlimited” (actually a rest home for old and/or unemployed Democrat politicians for decades) are “dead”.  While, like the deer shot through by an arrow that was unfelt, they only feel tired as they are bleeding to death while continuing to browse and look for a spot to take a “nap”.

The following newspaper article from Utah reports, a “National Forest is poised to wipe out a sport fishery on two streams to restore native trout.”  This involves using rotenone to kill “all the fish, including beloved rainbow and brown trout”.  Note that the article only headlines the loss of rainbow fishing while mentioning in the fine print that brown trout fishing will also be diminished.  We are assured this is being done on the federal estate in “coordination with Utah wildlife officials”. 

This is yet another (wolves, grizzlies, smelt, owls, woodpeckers, salmon, et al) example and legal precedent of the increasing abuse of the Endangered Species Act to:

  • Establish the never-ending expansion of land (in this case water) to “restore” a “native fish” and all of its “native” attendant species by establishing a need for federal jurisdiction over state fish species that support fishing and state fishery revenue for fishery management.  Think wolves and moose/elk/cattle/sheep; grizzlies and human safety/ranching/recreation/; owls and the forest management/logging economies; smelt and farmers; salmon and power generation/irrigation; etc. as you consider that these “native” trout do not provide the robust fishing opportunities provided by the “beloved rainbow and brown trout”.
  • Remind us of the total perfidy (treachery) of the unfettered federal Endangered Species Act authority.  A federal unjust law to “save” “species” has morphed before our very eyes over 40 years into a never-ending expansion of federal effort to go from “only six known (sic cutthroat) populations in 1978” in Utah alone to “261” in Utah alone with no end in sight.  Again think wolves in NM/AZ/MN/WI/NC/CA & on and on ad infinitum.
  • Expose the federal manipulation that has, in collusion with radical organizations (Trout Unlimited like Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk, et al are in this category) from National Wildlife Federation to Defenders of Wildlife, NRDC, CBD, et al completely changed the “Endangered” prevention role to a “Native” (undefined; 1492 AD?/1776 AD/ 1865?/fill-in-the blank) “Ecosystem Restoration Act that supports only a primitive and nomadic lifestyle for all but the “uber-rich”.  Your tax dollars are diverted and spent to create a radical-dream-world where only the rich hunt and fish; beef and lamb are only affordable to the rich, everyone lives in designated urban enclaves, and human life from the unborn child with Down’s Syndrome to the old gal with Alzheimer’s or the mother with cancer is at the mercy of an all-powerful government’s absolute discretion.  Consider Utah’s fishery bureaucracy.  Do you really believe the National Forest Service is doing this freely “In coordination with Utah wildlife officials”?   The USFS bureaucrats and the USFWS bureaucrats are simply adding to the legal precedents and public impression that the National Forests are somehow equal to or (eventually) superior to state wildlife authorities: that the federal lands are destined to be closed (Roadless, Wilderness plus a host of other federal “Designations”) federal enclaves available only to the rich, select bureaucrats, “researchers”, and favored “partners” like Trout Unlimited.  Ask yourself, would any state wildlife agency allow me (federal lands with only a few exceptions are property within the state just like a private landowner insofar as natural resource authority) to kill all the fish on a stream on my property to establish my concept of a “native” fishery ecosystem and then publicize it as me doing it “in coordination with Utah (sic State) wildlife officials”?  Even a strong State’s Rights State like Utah is strongly influenced by federal dollars and federal power due to, if nothing else, an enormous chunk of real estate in the State.  Think of historic communities living in the shadow of Royal estates like Scotland for centuries, or near government elite lands like Goering’s hunting lands in Poland, or Soviet elites’ estates and dachas in rural Russia.  Consider how much “coordination” really goes on.  Would Utah fishermen and fishery bureaucrats really be spending all these funds to destroy fisheries (and the State revenue that creates) to make federal lands and waters that will probably only be harder and harder to access into some sort of fairy-land mishmash of undesired (by residents) species?  How soon would it be before the entire Department experienced a “turnover”?
  • Create and corrupt “science” as justification for all manner of hidden agendas.  Who can question “261” as “too much” or “not enough” when you are (reputedly) “saving” species”?  Like the notorious and infamous wolf “targets” that are never enough and really never verifiable; how many and how much cutthroat/bull/Apache/etc. trout “habitat” is “enough”?  Again like wolves (red/gray/Mexican/timber/etc.) what is it those 1970 politicians, bureaucrats and environmentalists really promised and what are we getting? 

-Taking (private) property without compensation for a non-public purpose?

-“Saving”, ad nauseum, subspecies; populations; population segments and something called “Distinct Population Segments”?

-Eating away at State’s Constitutional Natural Resources authority like Chinese expansions in central Asia and the South China Sea?

-Destroying fishing, hunting, ranching, timber management, animal ownership, rural prosperity, and rural safety?

About 16 years ago I was invited to speak before a Senate Subcommittee in opposition to a Federal Invasive Species Act.  Based on my experience with USFWS in Washington from the early 1970’s to 2000, I was absolutely convinced that the proposed Invasive Species Act was an even more sophisticated bait-and-switch than the Endangered Species Act.  USFWS had allowed Asian carp, pythons, boa constrictors and piranhas, to name a few, to be imported when the following law was in place:  Injurious Wildlife

The Lacey Act  is a law that dates back to 1900 and is one of the oldest wildlife-related laws on the books. Under the Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. 42), the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to regulate the importation and transport of species, including offspring and eggs, determined to be injurious to the health and welfare of humans, the interests of agriculture, horticulture or forestry, and the welfare and survival of wildlife resources of the U.S.  Wild mammals, wild birds, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, amphibians, and reptiles are the only organisms that can be added to the injurious wildlife list. 

Species listed as injurious may not be imported or transported between States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the U.S. by any means without a permit issued by the Service.

  1. Would you entrust the discretionary authority to designate and eradicate “Invasive Species” to a bureaucracy with such a careless and dismal record of protecting the USA ecosystem.
  2. Given what we just discussed about rainbow/brown trout eradication in ever-growing areas, would you suspect hidden agendas; or corrupt science to justify whatever the bureaucrats (both federal and their state enablers) might do to please the “new normal” crowd; or more harmonizing with the government-approved rural landscape with only approved species, subspecies, etc., etc. allowed.
  3. The ironic aspect of the lobbying for federal Invasive Species “Authority” was how it only used examples such as killer bees, brown tree snakes (Guam), and kudzu (a man-made species out of control).  You would have thought the Nation was coming to an end.  Now since the USFWS already had ignored their Injurious obligations, one might ask why this sudden anxiety to obtain more authority at the expense of States over wild plants and animals?  USFWS was already free to propose cooperative research and programs to Congress for funding with FREELY-cooperating States.  The answer was what was not said.  The targets were not the killer bees, et al; the targets were pheasants (from China), brown trout (from England), chukars (from India), snowcock (from Pakistan), Hungarian Partridge (from Europe) and “native species” “out-of-place” like muskies in Tennessee, striped bass in reservoirs or on the West Coast, bass/walleyes/pile/pickerel/crappies/etc. in the South or West where transplanted and Rainbows below dams or in western streams, etc., etc., etc.  All of these were the REAL targets of the backers and bureaucrats behind both the ESA and the proposed Invasive Species bill.  Combined with predators galore under federal ESA protection, federal invasive species eradication would simply quicken the day that anyone with less than $10M in their Roth Account would only be able to hunt and fish in a bar with those “Big Buck” and “Fishing” pinball machines back by the pool tables.  No more taxidermists, or guides, or tackle, boats, motel rooms, dinners at the café, license revenue, etcetera thanks to rainbows and pheasants, et al.

When I testified (in 6 minutes as I recall) against the bill I covered the preceding three items with the help of a visual aid.  The aid was a large mounted rainbow trout borrowed from a taxidermist friend that I held up at the appropriate moment.  Despite a particularly environmentally-sensitive Senator all but rolling his eyes when I held up the rainbow, the bill was never passed. 

The Senator that rolled his eyes apparently thought I was nuts.  In the next couple of months I bumped into two separate state fishery biologists that each laughed at me for thinking, much less saying, that federal bureaucrats would ever try to take over state fishing programs and dictate what fish would be where.

I do not share all this to evoke sympathy or to expunge feelings of being sorry for myself.  I merely wish to point out that here we are 16 years later, without a federal Invasive Species Act granting all manner of overarching federal authority to the Washington bureaucrats and they (and their radical “partners”) are doing the same thing, by using the ESA.  Can this be more precedence?  If you can’t see having to eradicate these desirable and introduced fish and wildlife species to create an imaginary USFWS “native” ecosystem anywhere in the Lower 48, well I don’t know what more to say.

For 16 years, fishermen have been busy with other things (“I don’t fish for trout” or “I can’t afford a trip out West”, etc.) to come together or be concerned about what Trout Unlimited (in this case) has been doing steadily or how Utah’s wildlife bureaucracy has been seduced by power, money and apparent federal ascendancy and hegemony.

The same sort of future is being planned for ducks and deer et al.  The same sort of duplicitous lobby groups self-described as “your” Forever or Unlimited are convinced of this inevitability and their future in “cooperation” with the radical organizations and bureaucracies that you think they are standing up to on your behalf.  You need look no farther than all the get-along comity between the bureaucrats, the radicals and “your” outfit that puts out those glossy magazines and holds those fundraiser banquets.

Do not be fooled by this recent lull from these bureaucracies and radical organizations either.  They are lying low as they watch President Trump and a faithless Congress battle things out.  They do not want to inflame anything that might get out of hand like losing the ESA ace-in-the-hole authority or the ability to take private property without compensation as they construct their own version of Rural America. If and when they get back in power, they will take off like banshees from where they were on 1 January.  Make no mistake about it.

Anyone concerned about such matters should consider the upcoming opportunity of electing new federal politicians that might just understand and maybe even realize what is being done to rural America.  Why they might even be willing to keep a promise like, “If elected, I will work to either repeal or amend the ESA to require State approval for ANY federal endangered species activity in any County.  Where justifiable federal intervention is needed and those affected are adamantly opposed; let federal bureaucracies make their case and request specific money, authorization and authority from Congress.”

We can always hope.

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

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Rainbow trout’s days are numbered on select national forest streams

Biologists to remove all fish from two creeks on the Paunsaugunt to clear way for native Bonneville cutthroat trout.

By Brian Maffly

The Dixie National Forest is poised to wipe out a sport fishery on two streams to restore native trout to parts of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.

In coordination with Utah wildlife officials, the forest is looking to return populations of Bonneville cutthroat trout, along with native minnows and suckers, to the upper East Fork of the Sevier River, which will require killing all the fish, including beloved rainbow and brown trout.

For the first phase of the project, Upper Kanab and Blubber creeks, just west of Bryce Canyon National Park, will be closed for several days next month while biologists apply the fish-killing poison rotenone.

The project is part of a larger effort to restore cutthroat to 36 miles of interconnected streams above Tropic Reservoir, as well as isolated segments downstream, such as Hunt, Birch and Horse creeks.

“One of the challenges to restoring native trout is finding areas where fish will be able to persist following a disturbance without additional management from us because it requires that species to occupy long distances of interconnected stream,” said Dixie fish biologist Mike Golden. “This project provides us with that opportunity.”

Blubber Creek will be closed Sept. 5 to 7 and Upper Kanab will be closed Sept. 11 to 13.

Bonneville cutthroat is a subspecies whose historic range is confined to the streams that once fed the massive Lake Bonneville that covered northwestern Utah 14,000 years ago.

After the introduction of nonnative trout, cutthroats disappeared from stream after stream until there remained only six known populations in 1978, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR). Since that nadir the number of populations has rebounded to 261.

Richard Hepworth, DWR’s aquatics program manager, said brook and brown trout spawn in the fall, giving those species an advantage over Bonneville cutthroat that spawn in the spring.

Cutthroat restoration projects, including in Salt Lake County’s Mill Creek Canyon, have been pursued all over the West and occasionally get bogged in controversy.

The Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest has initiated an environmental impact study on a similar proposal for the north slope of the Uinta Mountains. This forest intends to begin poisoning stretches of the West Fork Smiths Fork drainage next year and restocking them with Colorado River cutthroat trout and other native fish, such as sculpin, speckled dace and mountain sucker, according to a notice posted Friday on the Federal Register.

DWR might also stock tiger trout, a sterile hybrid, to provide sport fishing opportunities while cutthroat populations are getting established. Forest Service officials are accepting comments on the Uinta project through Sept. 25.

Applying toxins to streams can make people nervous, but biologists take numerous steps to minimize collateral damage to nontarget organisms, such as small invertebrates and amphibians.

Trout Unlimited supports these efforts and sometimes lends a hand.

“In the inland West, cutthroat are the only native trout. We love to see our native fish and we don’t want them pushed out by nonnative sport fish,” said Jordan Nielson, a Utah-based project manager for the conservation group. “We don’t want to see any fish end up on the [the Endangered Species Act] list. The more miles we make sure we have for native trout, the better.”

Nielson emphasized that nonnative sport fish have a place in Western streams, but eliminating them from select streams, he said, is in the best interest of the angling community. The best streams for such projects are in high-elevation headwaters, which is why the Forest Service is often involved. It is also essential that barriers can be installed to keep nonnative fish from migrating back in.

October 29, 2014.

“You’re finding a place with a good cold water stream and good flows, plenty of forage and bugs in the water,” Nielson said. “You need steeper banks and gradients to put in a barrier. It has to be accessible. Rotenone treatments can get expensive if you need a helicopter.”

Rotenone is especially toxic to gill-breathing organisms, but considered benign to humans and wildlife.

In next week’s application on the Sevier creeks, biologists will use drip barrels to distribute a 5 percent rotenone solution for three to eight hours. The goal is to achieve in-stream rotenone concentrations of 80 parts per billion, a level lethal to fish, but safe for most other aquatic life. They will apply an oxidizing agent to the creeks that neutralizes the toxin so it won’t harm fish downstream.

The Dixie also plans to install six permanent and three temporary fish barriers in the East Fork drainage to prevent nonnative fish from migrating upstream. Meanwhile, forest officials are pursuing another multiyear Bonneville restoration project on Mammoth Creek tributaries on the west side of the Sevier drainage.