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Field reports: Idaho collaborative is funding candidate

FORESTS – A North Idaho proposal by conservationists, loggers and others aimed at restoring forests and streams in the Clearwater and Nez Perce national forests could get federal funding.

The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program advisory council on Thursday selected the proposal by the Clearwater Basin Collaborative as one of 10 plans accepted around the nation to be considered for approval by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

If approved, the plan could provide up to $40 million over 10 years in northern Idaho to thin forests, remove old logging roads, fight noxious weeds and restore fish and wildlife habitat on 1.4 million acres.

“The real message here is collaboration works,” Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, told the Lewiston Tribune. “The projections are it will bring more than 300 good-paying jobs over a 10-year basis into the basin. The focus here is improving the land and the habitat.”

Crapo convened the northern Idaho group two years ago, encouraging conservationists, the timber industry, recreation groups and local governments to overcome decades of animosity concerning forest management.

One of the group’s top priorities is thinning, aquatic work and weed control in the Middle Fork of the Selway River, insiders said.

Staff and wire reports

Brookies get boot at Porcupine Lake

FISHING – Two Kaniksu National Forest trails leading to Porcupine Lake north of Lake Pend Oreille will be closed Aug. 9-13 for a project to remove non-native brook trout.

Trails 642 and 114 will be temporarily closed as workers use rotenone to kill trout in Porcupine Lake and upper Porcupine Creek, said Rob Ryan, Idaho Fish and Game department biologist.

The plan calls for restocking the waters with native westslope cutthroat trout next year.

Brook trout are a non-native fish that pose a risk to native fish populations in the drainage, Ryan said.

Porcupine Lake is about 5 miles north of Clark Fork, Idaho in the Lightning Creek drainage.

Rich Landers

41-pound trout a pending record

FISHING – Roger Hellen of Racine, Wis., was entered in a local fishing tournament on Lake Michigan recently when he landed a 41-pound, 8-ounce brown trout that’s likely to usurp – by a half an ounce – the current world record from the same lake as recognized by the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

As a bonus, Hellen also won the $10,000 grand prize and $700 brown trout category prize from the Salmon-A-Rama tournament.

But the day after he caught the big fish, he was on the water again because the tournament was still underway.

“The tournament is still going,” Hellen told a reporter at the time. “If there’s a bigger one, and there usually is at some point, I want a chance at it.”

Associated Press

San Juan Island rabbits to be killed

PARKS – The National Park Service is proposing to eliminate hundreds of nonnative European rabbits that have made pests of themselves on San Juan Island National Historical Park.

Superintendent Peter Dederich told it plans to hire a hunting contractor to shoot or trap the rabbits. He says the rabbits will be killed humanely.

The rabbits were brought to San Juan Island by early settlers as a food source. The bunnies have been damaging prairie land at the historical park that marks settlements where the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war in 1859 over a pig.

Associated Press

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