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The news out of UC Davis last spring knocked California native fish biologists for a loop.
Genetic testing of native Lahontan cutthroat trout from Independence Lake in the Tahoe National Forest near Truckee found evidence of hybridization with non-native rainbow trout.
To understand the magnitude of that news you have to understand that Independence Lake is the only lake in California – and just one of two lakes in the world – to support a self-sustaining lake population of Lahontan cutthroat trout, a trout native to the eastern Sierra range and the Lahontan basin of Nevada.
And you have to understand that for decades, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) biologists – joined by colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conservation groups including The Nature Conservancy and Trout Unlimited – have worked to safeguard these fish, enhance their habitat, and reduce competition from non-native brook trout, brown trout and Kokanee salmon introduced over the years into Independence Lake.
Lahontan cutthroat trout are listed as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act. Their original listing in 1970 predates the modern act itself, which was passed in 1973.
Full story: https://wildlife.ca.gov/Science-Institu ... ridization
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