The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking comments on the mountain whitefish conservation and management plan for the Big Lost River drainage.
The draft plan was developed in response to concerns over the decline in numbers and distribution as well as the unique aspects of the mountain whitefish population.
The Big Lost River is a hydrologically isolated stream basin along the northern rim of the Eastern Snake River Plain in southeastern Idaho. Unlike any other river in Idaho, the Big Lost has only one native salmonid-the mountain whitefish. They are thought to have entered the Big Lost River basin through an ancient connection with the Snake River. DNA analysis shows they have been isolated for thousands of years, and they show a high degree of genetic divergence from other mountain whitefish populations.
The plan reviews historical and current distribution and abundance based on fishery surveys and historical accounts. It also discusses potential factors affecting the population and identifies management actions thought to be critical to attain population objectives.
The plan was developed with comments from other agencies, private landowners, irrigators and fish conservation organizations. It is available at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/fish/misc/whitefish.cfm. Comments will be accepted until April 30 and may be submitted online, or sent to Jim Fredericks, regional fishery manager, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Upper Snake Region, 4279 Commerce Circle, Idaho Falls, ID 83401.