Foreign Species Lawsuit - a Success Story!
Judgment Received - 21 February 2006
We received a judgment in our favor from Judge James Goodpaster on the case.
Below is a summary of some of the key points regarding this lawsuit.
1. The mission of Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) is to protect and preserve Oklahoma wildlife.
2. The introduction of trout and other non-native, predator fish species in pristine Ozark mountain streams like Spring Creek allows for competition with native fish for habitat and food and constitutes a risk of loss for the native species. A major cause of biological diversity loss throughout the world is from biological pollutants, e.g., zebra mussels, etc., that were intentionally or unintentionally introduced into the environment.
3. Protection of native species should be given priority over the introduction of non-native sport fish.
4. A recent rule adoption by the ODWC provided for a general listing of criteria to be used by the ODWC Director in approving or denying a fish introduction (stocking) permit. However, we believe this criteria does not do enough to protect native species. We believe there should be outright prohibitions for the introduction of non-native species into High Quality Waters like Spring
Creek. Spring Creek is noted as a reference stream for many scientific comparisons and should not be played with.
5. We also believe there should be a public notice and comment period before the approval of any permit allowing the introduction of non-native fish species into any stream or river in Oklahoma.
6. We have two choices or a combination of the two choices to try to prevent further stocking of trout in Spring Creek:
a. Start an informational campaign to convince ODWC to deny the trout stocking permit that is presently pending.
b. Initiate a declaratory judgment lawsuit asking the Court to find that the regulation that sets the criteria for approving a permit was flawed and subject to invalidation, thereby affecting the entire permitting process.
c. Pursue both initiatives at once.
In summary, we decided on Option c.
Stream of Contention - Tulsa World - Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Protection Plan Aims High - Tulsa World - 03 November 2005
A Community Saves Its Creek - Progressive Farmer - Mid-February 1998