Shannon M. Hurn
District Fish Biologist
Malheur Watershed District
237 Highway 20 South, P.O. Box 8
Hines, OR 97738
Dear Ms Hurn:
I am author of the book, Cutthroat: Native Trout of the West (2nd edition, University of California Press, 2008). I am writing to express my support for your proposal to collect and translocate trout resembling the Alvord cutthroat trout from ***** Creek on the **** ******** National Antelope Refuge to one or more suitable streams within the Alvord Basin. I am happy to provide this endorsement for several reasons, one of the foremost being that this project will return trout with a strong resemblance to the native Alvord form to a basin from which it has been absent for many years.
The Alvord cutthroat subspecies is believed extinct in its original Alvord Basin habitat. However, local testimony indicates that Alvord Basin trout were introduced into at least one stream outside the basin, ***** Creek being the most likely possibility, long before extinction occurred. I am thoroughly familiar with the original appearance and meristic character descriptions of the Alvord cutthroat trout by Carl Hubbs and R.J. Behnke, and can assert from personal on-site observations that trout matching the original Alvord appearance phenotype indeed are present in ***** Creek. But ***** Creek also has been stocked with other subspecies of cutthroat trout and with rainbow trout over the years, and so no longer serves as a good refugium for the relict Alvord cutthroat phenotype.
Your project would not only establish a more secure refugium, but also would reestablish trout having at least the appearance phenotype of the Alvord subspecies within its native range. In addition, the project would provide a source of specimens and tissue samples for future studies into the origin and genetic stability of the phenotype, as well as trout for fishery management purposes—as replacements for phasing out nonnative populations within the Alvord basin, for example, should this become a management objective.
For all of these reasons, this project should rank as high priority for grant funding. I heartily support your proposal and your effort to secure grant funding for this important work.
Very truly yours,