Wildlife management is our responsibility | SierraSun.com

Wildlife management is our responsibility

For fishermen in the Eastern Sierra, a region that runs from here south through the Owens Valley, there may not be a better feeling than hooking into 20-inch rainbow.

If expected funding cuts aimed at the California Department of Fish and Game are enacted, that feeling may become even more rare.

While maintaining the trout fisheries in California is an economic imperative for the many small economies that rely on fishing for tourist dollars, the bigger problem with proposed cuts will come when the state takes steps back in wildlife management.

It is no secret that fish populations are especially susceptible to human contact and changes in environment, so management of these populations must remain a high priority of the state. Making sure that the same species we find in lakes, streams and rivers are intact for the next generation is our responsibility, even if the state is going through tough economic times. Bringing a species back from the brink is a much tougher task than being proactive; just look at attempts to increase Lahontan cutthroat trout populations.

California must give our wildlife officials the tools they need to accomplish this end. Although it is not necessarily a question of dollars, it is a question of responsibility.

We have to ask ourselves “What is the true cost of losing ecological balance in our public lands?” The answer may be impossible to quantify.

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