The Department of Fish and Game posted lists on its website Monday of lakes and streams affected by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette’s signing of an order last Friday to “codify a temporary agreement between the state and two environmental groups as part of a 2006 lawsuit over declines in native fish and frogs,” according to  a  wire report published in the Siskiyou Daily News.
The lists notify anglers and residents that effective Monday and running through January 1, 2010, over 30 bodies of water in Siskiyou County will no longer be stocked with hatchery fish in accordance with the ruling. Included are the South Fork of the Sacramento River, Lower Gumboot Lake, Castle Lake and Toad Lake.
Among the bodies of water that will continue to be stocked are the Sacramento River, Lake Siskiyou, Lake Shastina, Big Crater Lake, Cliff Lake, Kangaroo Lake, the Squaw Creek, the McCloud River at Fowlers/Lower Falls, and the McCloud River at Lakin Dam.
The lawsuit has pitted the Pacific Rivers Council and the Center for Biological Diversity against the state. The environmental groups, which have also been critical of the Klamath River dams, have sued to limit the stocking of hatchery fish because of their effect on native species including the mountain yellow-legged frog and the McCloud River redband trout.
The Department of Fish and Game’s Director, Donald Koch, said in the same wire report, “DFG fought hard in the negotiations to save its fish stocking programs. We are pleased that the order allows us to continue stocking in a number of areas where the communities depend on fishing.”
According to many fisheries biologists, stocking rivers and lakes with hatchery fish reduces the genetic viability of native fish species. Hatchery trout, they contend, compete with native fish for limited resources and are more susceptible to disease. Pro-stocking advocates say that hatchery fish are quickly caught  by anglers, or  die in the harsh natural environments where they are introduced, and do not adversely affect native fish.
But in signing the order Judge Marlette indicated that he found the argument against hatchery fish more persuasive.
In a statement released after the signing of the order, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Noah Greenwald said, “Interim measures limiting stocking are needed to help save California's native fish and frogs from extinction. Fish and Game will still be able to stock hatchery fish, but mainly in places where they won't harm native species."
The agreement comes out of weeks of negotiations between the plaintiffs and the DFG. Subsequently, much of the DFG’s “research, educational, anadromous fish conservation, native fish reintroduction, and recreational angling programs” will continue, according to the CBD’s statement.
In May 2007, the Court found that fish stocking has significant environmental impacts and ordered the DFG to created and Environmental Impact Report by the end of 2008. Last month, the DFG asked for two more years to complete the EIR, which the environmental groups responded to by asking for the temporary stocking limits.
“The mountain yellow-legged frog has disappeared from more than 90 percent of its former range in the Sierra Nevada, and introduced trout are an important cause of this decline,” research biologist Dr. Roland Knapp commented in the CBD’s statement.
“Likewise, unintended consequences of stocking nonnative trout without needed precautions have seriously compromised and set back the States own conservation and recovery efforts for its imperiled native golden and redband trout,” Knapp continued. “On a hopeful note, a cessation of stocking and the removal of non-native trout from key sites can allow the recovery of mountain yellow-legged frogs and other native species.”
Fishing contributes to many local economies, and many local bodies of water are heavily stocked with hatchery fish. A January report issued by California Trout estimated that recreational fishing adds $2 billion annually to California’s economy.