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Groups sue fish, wildlife service over trout protection

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Four conservation groups said Wednesday they are suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, seeking endangered species protection for coastal cutthroat trout in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

If the groups prevail, protected status could lead to restrictions on development, dam operations, logging and irrigation withdrawals beyond those already in place for salmon.

The Center for Biological Diversity and other groups contend the Bush administration acted without scientific justification when it withdrew a proposal -- made under the Clinton administration -- to list the trout as threatened in the Columbia River Basin.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman on Wednesday said the agency based its 2002 decision on new information and analysis of abundance and productivity trends, and the development of new habitat conservation plans, which improved the outlook for the fish. -- Joe Rojas-Burke

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