The long-delayed federal bull trout recovery plan was released this week . . .
More than 15 years in the making, the final recovery plan for bull trout was released Monday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, although some environmentalists and biologists in Montana say it still falls short of providing an avenue to recover the threatened species.
Listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1999, bull trout populations in the continental U.S. have struggled throughout the past century, under pressure from invasive species, habitat degradation and warmer waters.
The warming effects from climate change are also expected to create further problems for the fish, which require clean, cold water to survive. Steve Duke, a senior biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said some current bull trout habitats will no longer be habitable if water temperatures continue to rise as projected. That’s one reason the plan language that allows up to 25 percent of the individual populations to disappear within four of the six geographically defined recovery units.