RENO — Federal agencies have withdrawn their appeal of a ruling that blocked efforts to poison a Sierra Nevada creek near Lake Tahoe to reintroduce threatened Paiute cutthroat trout.
Conservationists were calling the move a victory, but officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service characterize it as a procedural step and said they still intend to pursue the Silver King Creek project.
The government was considering appealing a federal judge’s September injunction blocking plans to poison an 11-mile stretch of the creek to remove unwanted fish and replace them with threatened Paiute cutthroat trout.
“This means the judge’s injunction is permanent now. I’m very pleased,” said Patty Clary, executive director of Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, which with Wilderness Watch and Friends of Silver King Creek sued to block the project.
Jeannie Stafford, spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife office in Reno, described Monday’s motion as a “procedural step in the process. It does not mean that the project is dead.”
Chad Mellison, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist, said the Forest Service chose not to appeal the ruling and that Monday’s motion removed a legal “placeholder” filed to preserve that option.
Instead, the government will rework the document examining the project’s impact under the Wilderness Act . The creek is within the boundaries of the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness.