Trout Unlimited today praised President Obama’s expansion of Cascades-Siskiyou National Monument, saying this action will better protect a population of native redband trout and one of the country’s most unique ecosystems.
Steve Kandell, Sportsmen’s Conservation Project director for Trout Unlimited, said, “We are very pleased this expansion has included more of the Jenny Creek watershed, which will help protect supplies of clean, cold water for this stream and its rare redband trout. We greatly appreciate the recognition by President Obama, Senators Merkley, Wyden and Boxer, and many other local and national leaders that this part of our natural heritage deserves permanent protection.”
The Cascades-Siskiyou region hosts one of the most significant concentrations of biodiversity in North America. The monument was originally established in 2000 to protect the region’s distinctive flora and fauna, including old growth forests and a native redband trout population in Jenny Creek. President Obama’s action adds some 56,000 acres of public land to the monument. All private land inholdings will remain private, recreational uses of the newly-added lands, such as hunting and fishing, will remain open to the public, and the public will be able to provide input on a future management plan.
“The native redband trout of Jenny Creek are not large, but they are beautiful and quite distinctive,” said Dr. Jack Williams, Trout Unlimited’s senior scientist. “The monument expansion will better protect habitat for this population, including Johnson Creek, a headwater tributary, additional portions of the Jenny Creek mainstem, and Jenny Creek Falls, the geologic feature in California that is the cause of the isolation of redband trout and other native fishes within this drainage.”
The Jenny Creek population of redband trout is especially vulnerable to influences such as climate change and competition from non-native trout species due to its thousands of years of isolation.
Redband trout have drawn increasing attention as a native species that faces significant threats. In 2014, Trout Unlimited was one of 15 signers of the Interior Redband Trout Conservation Agreement, an agreement between federal and state resource agencies, tribes, and conservation groups that describes commitments for restoration of interior redband populations.
“This expansion is a way to bank some breathing room for future challenges,” said Williams. “We’re seeing warmer temperatures, less spring snowpack, and lower summer stream flows. By protecting these watersheds and some of the lands that help keep these watersheds healthy, we can give these unique populations of trout a fighting chance.”