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April 14, 2015
Contact: Brian Walker, 509-684-2362 Ext. 14

Pend Oreille River drainage native trout
restoration discussed at April 28 meeting in Cusick

The results of recent work to restore native westslope cutthroat trout in the Pend Oreille River drainage of northeast Washington will be discussed at a public meeting Tuesday, April 28, 6 - 8 p.m., at the Cusick American Legion, 105 E Timber St., Cusick.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Kalispel Tribe of Indians Natural Resources Department (KNRD) staff will detail the successful results of a seven year project to restore native westslope cutthroat trout to Cee Cee Ah Creek, a tributary of the Pend Oreille River on the Colville National Forest in Pend Oreille County.

The meeting will focus on project development, including earlier public input, and is expected to set the stage for additional meetings later this year to discuss how similar work might occur in other parts of the Pend Oreille River drainage.

WDFW fish biologist Brian Walker of Colville explained that non-native fish species were removed from Cee Cee Ah Creek, from 2008 through 2010. Native westslope cutthroat trout, which were extirpated by competition from non-native fish, were re-introduced in 2011 and 2012.

"With stocking then of just 100 adult cutthroat and 170 fry," Walker said, "we now estimate almost 3,000 westslope cutthroat trout in the creek. It's a real success story."

The westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi) got its common name from being first described west of the Continental Divide and its scientific name from explorers Lewis and Clark. It is one of two cutthroat trout subspecies native to Washington (the other is the coastal cutthroat.)

Westslopes have olive/bronze colored backs and greenish-gold colored sides. As with all cutthroat trout, they have the distinctive red slash mark on each side of their lower jaw. WDFW's "Fish Washington" interactive website has more information on westslope cutthroat trout at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/Species/2311/