After a half-century of collaborative work toward the conservation of the species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced the completion of a five-year status review of the Apache Trout(Oncorhynchus apache) and recommends delisting the species from the Endangered Species ACT (ESA). This recovery has only been accomplished with the hard work and collaboration between tribal, state, federal, and non-governmental organizations. The next stage of the plan will be the Service publishing a new proposed rule in the Federal Register to delist the Apache trout.
This new proposed rule is expected to be published by the end of 2022. This will include a 60-day public comment period seeking any input from state, federal, tribal, and other government agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning the delisting proposal.
“We would like to thank our partners for their engagement and collaborative efforts alongside the Service towards the recovery of the Apache trout,” said Amy Lueders, Regional Director for the Service. “We are excited to say the recovery actions by the White Mountain Apache Tribe and other partners have led to the recommendation to delist the species from the ESA.”
Even if the Apache trout is delisted, the Service is committed to continuing conservation efforts that have made the recovery possible. The removal of non-native trout, fish barriers, and Apache trout reintroductions will continue under the care of The Service, along with White Mountain Apache Tribe, Arizona Game and Fish Department, USDA Forest Service, and Trout Unlimited.
The Apache trout is the state fish of Arizona and is endemic to the streams around the White Mountains in the eastern part of the state. It was originally classified as the same species as the Gila trout, but in 1972 was classified as a separate species from the Gila Trout. A year later it was placed on the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and in 1975 downlisted to threatened in 1975.
The five-year review and additional information about the Apache trout is available on the species ECOS page. (Direct link.)
The Service remains interested in information regarding the status and conservation of, and any potential threat to, the Apache trout. Please submit information by email to [email protected].