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PAGE1MAZINAIGANSPRING2015CourtgivesMaiinganareprievePublishedbytheGreatLakesIndianFishWildlifeCommissionSpring2015ExpertsweighinonMilleLacsByPhilomenaKebecGLIFWCPolicyAnalystIna110-pagedecisionissuedonDecember192014thefederaldistrictcourtintheDistrictofColumbiainvalidatedtheU.S.FishandWildlifesUSFWSrulethatremovedprotectionsundertheEndangeredSpeciesActESAfortheGreatLakesGreyWolf.ThisdecisioninstantlyrestoredprotectionstomaiinganthegreywolfpopulationsoftheWesternGreatLakesregionincludingthecededterritories.MaiinganacrossthecededterritoriesnowenjoythehighestlevelofprotectionofferedundertheESAandcannolongerbelegallyhuntedforsportorkilledfordepredationondomesticanimals.TheplaintiffsincludeanimalrightsandconservationgroupsHumaneSocietyoftheUnitedStatesBornFreeUSAHelpOurWolvesLiveandFriendsoftheAnimalsandTheirEnvironmentwhoprovedthattheirmembershadarealandpersonalstakeinthesurvivalofmaiingan.DefendingtheactiontoremoveESAprotectionsfrommaiinganwastheUSFWSwhichwasjoinedbythestatesofWisconsinandMichiganandtheHunterandConservationCoalitionasinterveners.TheMinnesotaDepartmentofNaturalResourcesandtheAssociationofFishandWildlifeAgenciesparticipatedasamicuscuriaefriendofthecourt.ThecourtreviewedtheUSFWSsthreepreviousandunsuccessfulat-temptstodelistmaiinganfromtheprotectionoftheESA.Thecourtfoundthattheagencysfourthattemptwassimilarlyinvalidforthefollowingreasons.FirsttheUSFWSattemptedtodesignateWesternGreatLakesmaiinganasadistinctpopulationfromthegreywolforcanislupusinordertodelistmaiinganliv-ingintheWesternGreatLakes.ThecourtdeterminedthattheESAonlyallowstheUSFWStodesignatedistinctpopulationsifthatdistinctpopulationisthreatenedorendangeredtheycannotbecreatedwiththeintentofremovingprotectionsfromasub-areaofamorebroadlylistedspecies.Secondthecourtfoundthattheonlymethodavailabletoredesignateaspecieslistedasthreatenedorendangeredistomakedecisionsregardingthepopulationthatwasoriginallylisted.Thereareonlythreeoptionsforredesignatingthespecies1removeprotectionsbecausethespeciesisrecoveredorextinct2institutegreaterprotectionsbecausethehealthofthespeciesasawholeisdecreasing3modifyprotectionsincaseswherefaultydatawasusedtooriginallydesignatethespecies.TheUSFWSisrequiredtomakethesedecisionsbasedonsoundscientificanalysisofadequatedata.ThecourtultimatelydecidedthattheUSFWShadinadequatejustificationtodeterminethatWesternGreatLakesmaiinganisneitherthreatenednorendangered.ThecourtfoundthatseveralfactorssuggestedthattheUSFWSsdecisionwasarbitraryandcapriciousorunjustified.Thesefactorsinclude1itshistoricalrangehasbeensignificantlydiminished2theUSFWSdidnotexplainwhythediminishmentofitshistoricalrangewasnotconsideredinitsdecisiontodelist3theUSFWSdidnotadequatelyaddressmultiplemortalityfactorsandtheireffectonmaiingansurvival4theUSFWSdidnotadequatelyaddresstheadequacyofstateregulatorySeeSomeseeklegislationtodelistpage10OdanahWis.Letsmakethisclearrightaway.Naturalwalleyerepro-ductionremainsstrongonLakeMilleLacs.Theprimaryconcernplaguingthelakesogaafisheryisthismostnewlyhatchedwalleyearenotsurvivingpasttheirfirstyearortwo.Notgrowingup.Notevenclosetobeingbigenoughforanglersspearersornetterstoharvest.Whilecriticsofinteragencyman-agementfrombarstoolbiologiststooutdoorwritersroutinelyespousethesimplisticcatch-phraseitsthenetsanindependentcollectionoffisheriesprofessionalsconfirmsthatthelakesproblemsrunmuchdeeper.InaDecember2014announce-mentablueribbonpanelofNorthAmeri-canfisheriesexpertsbackedupstateandtribalappraisalsofstrugglingwalleyestocksonthe132000-acrelakeintheMinnesota1837Treatycededterritory.WeconcludethatrecreationalandsubsistencefishingmortalityisunlikelytobethedirectcauseofthedeclineofMilleLacswalleyewrotethescientificcommitteechairedbyPaulVenturelliPhDUniversityofMinnesota.Addi-tionalpanelistsincluderesearchersfromMichiganStateUniversityOntarioMin-istryofNaturalResourcesandCornellUniversity.EchoingmanyofthedynamicsidentifiedbytheMinnesota1837CededTerritoryFisheriesCommitteethepaneldetailedaperfectstormoflikelyfactorsthathasledtothecurrentimbalanceintheMilleLacswalleyepopulationaconditionmostpersonifiedbytheabsenceofjuvenilefish.Cannibalismbywalleyehaslongbeenknownasanimportantregula-torofage-OwalleyesurvivalnotedpanelistsinMilleLacsWalleyeBlueRibbonPanelDataReviewandRecom-mendationsforFutureDataCollectionandManagementFinalReport.Wefoundthatwalleyecannibalismandperhapspredationbynorthernpikecouldberesponsibleforlowover-wintersurvival.WhyeatyourownyoungPanelistssuggestacombinationoftoomanylargewalleyeandtoofewlakeciscoesamajorforagespeciesforpredatoryogaa.CiscoeslocallyknownastullibeehavesignificantlydeclinedasMilleLacswa-tertemperaturesroseinrecentdecades.Inadditiontorisingannualtempera-turesthelakehasfurtherexperiencedanincreaseinwaterclarity.Bluerib-bonresearcherspointoutthatthetrendtowardclearerwaterpromotesmoreaquaticplantgrowthprovidingbettercoverfornorthernsandsmallmouthbassmakingthemmoreefficientpredatorsofyoungwalleye.Asnotedinthereportthearrivalofexoticzebramusselswhichhelpedacceleratewaterclarificationandotheraquaticinvasivespecieslikespinywa-terfleasthatcompeteforzooplanktonaddsanotherlayerofcomplicationsinthewalleyelifecycle.Throwinanin-determinateimpactfromanewcolonyofdouble-breastedcormorantsandthepanelfindsplentyofcauseastohowbountifulwalleyespawningsuccessultimatelyfailstoproducecatchablefish.JuvenilemortalitynotharvestspurswalleyedeclineByCharlieOttoRasmussenStaffWriterSeeMilleLacspage2