CUTTHROAT PAST IS KEY TO PRESENT SURVIVAL
Imagine A Pristine Continent.. Moldy Chum lets us know that the Bonneville Cutthroat is being reconsidered for Endangered Species Status. The news release from the Center For Biological Diversity briefly details this legal struggle. It might be noted that back in the year 2000 Utah and several Federal agencies agreed on a conservation plan (PDF) for the survival of these fish.
.. The Cutthroat Trout, Golden Trout, and Fluvial Grayling are fish that pioneered the inland waters of the America's. These circumpolar fish are the evolutionary descendants of fish stocks that eventually became all of the Salmonids. These fish are the inquisitive, adventurous, sturdy stock that gave us the inland fisheries that we have today. They deserve to be saved for that reason alone.
.. Sometime between 80 and 60 million years ago these estuarine fish began to probe the inlets and rivers of a continent that was moving north and was full of steep rivers. The adaptive behavior of becoming anadromous served them well over the eons and has persisted to the present. They, unlike most of the other salmonids, can return to spawn several times.
.. Below are a series of maps that show the changing face of our continent over the past 75 million or so years. This is the time period of the evolution of the salmon, char, and trout that we know today: (From Paleogeography & Geologic Evolution Of North America.)
-- 75 Ma
-- 65 Ma
-- 60 Ma
-- 50 Ma
-- 40 Ma
-- 25 Ma
-- 8 Ma
-- 3 Ma
-- 0.126 Ma
------------------.. These fish are wed to the continent and the Western portion of it in the same manner that the Brook Trout and Atlantic Salmon are in the Eastern portion. The things that these fish have in common are a seeking behavior, the need for cold clean water, and their rapid disappearance from the contemporary waters of the continent.
.. Although hooking up with any fish is special, these fish are part of the fabric of our heritage - they were here in some form long before us, and now they need us.