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Is Utah Lake worth saving?

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Re: [TubeDude] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
TubeDude wrote:
Yeah, verily. Sometimes we have to avoid taking fish identification by early explorers too seriously. A good example is the attached dissertation on the "lake trout" of Utah Lake...written in the late 1800s by a surveyor working in the area.

"Mormon macks"?


Tube -- that article is interesting, and very typical of many articles we see in our newspapers today.

There is conflicting information in that article, the most notable in the very first sentence where the author notes "...as it is sometimes called, the brook and speckled trout...". However, if you look below the title they have very clearly stated the latin name of the trout in question: Salmo Virginalis, Girard. This latin name is specifically that of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout, and was mistakenly used early on as the name for Bonneville cutthroat trout. The rest of the article describes "lake" trout characteristics commonly associated with cutthroat trout.

So, while the article makes things a bit cloudy, it also very accurately describes cutthroat. He even mentions "the same fish in the Yellowstone region" and mentions spawning in mountain springs (lake trout are lake spawners).

Most early settlers and explorers were very good with identification and very specific with characteristics to identify plant and animal species. This article just has a couple mistakes, that most readers with some education can identify and understand the true identification: Bonneville cutthroat trout.



I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

(This post was edited by PBH on Sep 20, 2017, 7:54 AM)
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Re: [PBH] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
Quote:
"Trout and Salmon of North America" (Robert Behnke)

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Bonneville basin cutthroat trout were variously classified as "Salmo vifginalis," S. mykiss virginalis," and "S. clarki virginalis."
"Salmo virginalis" was the name given in 1856 to Rio Grande cutthroat trout collected from Ute Creek in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado. Somehow Ute Creek became "Utah Creek" in the early literature and was assumed to be a stream in the Bonneville basin of Utah.
George Suckley, a surgeon-naturalist with the Pacific Railroad Survey during teh 1850s, compiled a manuscriipt, called "On the North American Species of Salmon and Trout", that he completed in 1861 and published in 1874. In this work, Suckley mentions a "variety" of "Salmo virginalis" that occurs in Utah Lake. When he compared the Utah Lake specimens with other cutthroat specimens from the Bonneville basin, Suckley saw that lake specimens were "less spotted". He wrote: "for this variety or kind we will, for the present, apply the provisional name of Salmo utah." Existence in a large lake environment results in a silvery coloration with large, round spots modified into small, irregularly shaped, speckle-like spotting. Although Suckley intended the name "utah" only to distinguish the cutthroat trout of Utah Lake from other Bonneville basin cutthroat trout, which he classified as "Salmo virginalis," the name "utah" is the first name published for any Bonneville basin cutthroat trout, and "Oncorhynchus clarki utah" is now the subspecies name for all cutthroat trout native to the basin.


TubeDude -- do you know where that article was published, and when? It appears to have been written after Suckley published his work. H.C. Yarrow only did a portion of his homework...





I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

(This post was edited by PBH on Sep 20, 2017, 7:45 AM)
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Re: [PBH] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
"TubeDude -- do you know where that article was published, and when? It appears to have been written after Suckley published his work. H.C. Yarrow only did a portion of his homework..."

I had to look a bit, but I found this old Report to the Fishing Commissioners for 1872-3. The report by Yarrow is number XII at REPORT TO COMMISSION. There are a lot of other interesting goodies to read in that report.

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Re: [PBH] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
PBH wrote:

Most early settlers and explorers were very good with identification and very specific with characteristics to identify plant and animal species. This article just has a couple mistakes, that most readers with some education can identify and understand the true identification: Bonneville cutthroat trout.

Yes and no. Mr. Yarrow was a trained biologist ("naturalist" was the term often used at the time) who was part of the Wheeler survey. We would expect him to describe things fairly accurately, which he did. However, pioneers, explorers, and soldiers that describe fish and other wildlife in their journals were often far more inaccurate and the accounts have to be taken with that understanding. The example of the Hole in the Rock pioneers I noted fits into that category. It all still is interesting to read and decipher.


Mr. Yarrow and the Wheeler expedition weren't infallible either. I'd have to check when I get off work, but I believe they were the ones who first collected the Apache trout (of Arizona), but threw future fish biologists for a loop for years to come by mislabeling the collection jars as fish collected from Panguitch lake.





I caught you a delicious bass.
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Re: [doggonefishin] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
doggonefishin wrote:
PBH wrote:
Mr. Yarrow was a trained biologist ("naturalist" was the term often used at the time) who was part of the Wheeler survey. We would expect him to describe things fairly accurately, which he did.

His paper posted by the Dude is very accurate and describes Bonneville cutthroat clearly. His sub-title includes Salmo virginalis -- again, a cutthroat. So the big question comes down to why he titled the report "On the Speckled trout of Utah Lake" and included that opening sentence? This obviously threw off a handful of people (including Tubedude) to assume that the rest of the article described a speckled or brook trout, which it very clearly did not. Maybe the report is simply stating what the local inhabitants of Utah referred to the cutthroat as: a "lake" trout (ie: a trout that lives in a lake), and then misinterpreted their meaning for a speckled trout?

Regardless of the title and opening sentence, the report very clearly describes cutthroat trout, as had previously been identified by other naturalists as Salmo virginalis.



I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

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Re: [PBH] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
PBH wrote:
Maybe the report is simply stating what the local inhabitants of Utah referred to the cutthroat as: a "lake" trout (ie: a trout that lives in a lake), and then misinterpreted their meaning for a speckled trout?

Exactly, But I think the practice of describing any lacrustine trout as a "lake trout" or a stream dweller as a "brook trout" was more widespread than just here in Utah. It seemed that happened a lot in the old papers and survey results. Mr. Yarrow was certainly not implying that the UL's "lake trout" was Salvelinus namaycush.


PBH wrote:
Regardless of the title and opening sentence, the report very clearly describes cutthroat trout, as had previously been identified by other naturalists as Salmo virginalis.

Absolutely.





I caught you a delicious bass.
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Re: [TubeDude] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
This has been an excellent thread to read! Thanks to everyone for their input.

I think the Lahontan cutthroat is a great idea in principle if the lake could be cleaned up, dredged, etc. They seem to have the best chance of surviving Utah Lake's environment. But how would their status as a threatened species play into that option? If not the Lahontan cutthroat, aren't browns pretty hardy as well? Any other trout or salmonid species?

Thanks TD for bird dogging this topic!

Pacs
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Re: [pacscrumhalf] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
TubDude, thanks for the articles and YouTube link.

pacscrumhalf, I doubt that Lahontan would ever be allowed in today's world, but if it were, it would likely come from Washington State where they previously transplanted it and it has become very prolific. Taking a threatened species from its native environment for transplant would be problematic, but taking it from a location where it "naturalized" would be acceptable.

You know, I see more intellectual conversation regarding this topic on this site then the entire legislature. Maybe we need to run some of or members for State Legislature. Just saying!!!!!
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Re: [pacscrumhalf] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
pacscrumhalf wrote:
This has been an excellent thread to read! Thanks to everyone for their input.

I think the Lahontan cutthroat is a great idea in principle if the lake could be cleaned up, dredged, etc. They seem to have the best chance of surviving Utah Lake's environment. But how would their status as a threatened species play into that option? If not the Lahontan cutthroat, aren't browns pretty hardy as well? Any other trout or salmonid species?

Thanks TD for bird dogging this topic!

Pacs

There are probably quite a few more species that would survive and prosper in Utah Lake. But the big kicker is the June sucker. As long as it is on the endangered species list...and is under an aggressive and expensive restoration program...we are not likely to see approval for adding any more predators (sucker eaters) to the food chain.

For anyone not familiar with Lahontan cutts, they really are fish munchers. In Pyramid Lake (NV) they subsist almost entirely on "cui ui"...a small sucker...and tui chubs. Not a good endorsement for them being dumped into Utah Lake.

Personally, I would love to see some flathead cats in Utah Lake. But even the mere mention of something like that is enough to elicit screams of anguish from the Junie huggers. If you really wanna set them off start talking alligator gars.

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Re: [pacscrumhalf] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
pacscrumhalf wrote:
I think the Lahontan cutthroat is a great idea in principle if the lake could be cleaned up, dredged, etc.
...
how would their status as a threatened species play into that option?


It's not the status of Lahontan that would matter. It would be the status of Bonneville cutthroat that matters. In today's world efforts are placed on restoring native fish to their native habitat in higher precedence than introducing non-native species. So, if a decision was made that cutthroat were to be reintroduced to Utah Lake, those cutthroat would be Bonneville.

There are historical records that discuss those cutthroat residing in Utah Lake. Even back in the 1800's, Utah Lake was relatively warm. During those summer months when lake temps increased those populations of cutthroat would migrate to mouths of stream inlets where cooler temps provided relief.

If there were a way to change irrigation and get more streams back to Utah Lake, including restoring the Provo River delta, then I think Oncorhynchus clarki utah could certainly make Utah Lake it's home again. Next to carp removal, irrigation issues would be a significant challenge.



I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

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Re: [PBH] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
That makes sense. It's a very interesting discussion. We'll see where the legislators take it. Going back to TD's thoughts on flatheads, they'd be great at culling the dink white bass I'd think. Flatts love a good panfish. Not so sure about the June sicker though.
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Re: [pacscrumhalf] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
would adding channel cats really help?

One major issue with Utah Lake is the lack of aquatic vegetation. Sure, we have miles and miles of phrag on the shoreline, but nothing in the majority of the water body.

if you were to eliminate carp, aquatic vegetation would come back. With that aquatic vegetation, the existing largemouth bass population would most likely prosper, along with numerous other species.

the biggest "fix" for that lake is not an equation of "adding" more species. It's a habitat equation. One way to help fix the habitat is to remove carp. Another habitat "fix" would be to restore the Provo River delta, which in turn would benefit the June Sucker. Right now, with the Provo River inlet being a deep, slow "backwater", those June sucker fry become easy meals for the walleye, cats, etc. the move into that slow water to feed. Restore that back to a natural delta, and you restore the natural spawning habitat for those endangered fish. Again, this would benefit multiple species, including sport fish.



I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

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Re: [PBH] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
There is a lot of argument both for and against the Provo River Delta Plan. Junie huggers are all for it. But local farmers, home owners and business owners who would be impacted by it...not so much. And, unfortunately for suckerkind, most anglers who favor the warm water predator species in the lake don't much care for the idea of messing up their fishing for the sake of a "worthless sucker".

Here is the collection of past articles and web pages on the Provo River Plan for those who are not familiar with it.

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Re: [TubeDude] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
TubeDude wrote:
But local farmers, home owners and business owners who would be impacted by it...not so much.

Of course not! When are famers and business owners ever excited to improve wildlife habitat??


TubeDude wrote:
And, unfortunately for suckerkind, most anglers who favor the warm water predator species in the lake don't much care for the idea of messing up their fishing for the sake of a "worthless sucker".


This ^^^ is crazy talk.
Improving habitat would only improve things for those "warm water" predator species.
The only thing that might impact those "anglers" (term used loosely) is that they wouldn't be able to plunk in that deep, slow, back-water currently called the provo river inlet. So they might have to find a new spot to catch walleye -- is that really a valid argument against habitat improvement??



I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

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Re: [PBH] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
"is that really a valid argument against habitat improvement??"

Hard core angler types are usually more concerned with convenience and harvest rather than habitat improvement. Short term vs long term every time.

A bird in the hand...makes blowing your nose difficult.

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Re: Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
OK, so I'm no expert with this stuff, but I might have an idea. Even though its a little bit of a stretch, I think it could work if applied correctly.

I have a reef tank that has occasional algae blooms. One flared up recently and I found that my protein skimmer wasn't running all that well as it usually does when this happens, but a powerhead had also seized up, making this one especially nasty.

One big issue with the lake is the way it flows, more specifically how it doesn't have much of any flow. In my reef tank, powerheads are used to create an artificial current. Since we're not likely to get more water feeding into the lake, would it be possible to create an artificial current in one or two areas? Beyond the issue of initial cost, maintenance, and power consumption, I feel the lake could benefit from something like that if it were located in the right area and moved enough water. To cut costs, I imagine you could shut it down in the off season with minimal negative impact.

At the very least, its a crazy idea that can be built on a bit.
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Re: [TubeDude] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
TubeDude wrote:
"is that really a valid argument against habitat improvement??"

Hard core angler types are usually more concerned with convenience and harvest rather than habitat improvement. Short term vs long term every time.

A bird in the hand...makes blowing your nose difficult.

"Hard Core" of course is a matter of opinion.

But, even on this site, we do see the short term verses long term a lot. We do see those that want to poison out a lake now and restock with 'Bows' so they have good fish next year, but will need to do it again in 10 years. The long term, fixing the problem so it does not happen again, but takes more time, is often less favored. IN FACT, they often bully those that don't agree with them.

PBH makes some strong "moral" arguments that habitat improvement is most important, and "morally" he is right. But, pragmatic approaches are often required in the world of politics. AND DON'T EVEN THINK THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL THING. Often the only way to get things done is to get a majority behind you, even if it means you need to compromise on your "moral beliefs". Still, in principle, I think that the true "fisherman" agrees that habitat improvement, even if restoration is not possible, is the key to the future.

And I grew up as a "farmer" and we did a better job of protecting the environment then State we lived in did at the time. We knew that the future of our land was directly tied into the health of the land, the habitat we provided for wildlife, the renewability of the soil. I will not say that all farmers are that way, but most are dramatically more "conversation minded" then has been suggested.

I think that there is a consensus developing here, the question is "is there a pragmatic solution"? One hopes that if we can come to an agreement, perhaps the State will come to an agreement as well.


My bucket list has a hole in the bottom of the bucket.
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Re: [Dirty42] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
 
Dirty42 wrote:
OK, so I'm no expert with this stuff, but I might have an idea. Even though its a little bit of a stretch, I think it could work if applied correctly.

I have a reef tank that has occasional algae blooms. One flared up recently and I found that my protein skimmer wasn't running all that well as it usually does when this happens, but a powerhead had also seized up, making this one especially nasty.

One big issue with the lake is the way it flows, more specifically how it doesn't have much of any flow. In my reef tank, powerheads are used to create an artificial current. Since we're not likely to get more water feeding into the lake, would it be possible to create an artificial current in one or two areas? Beyond the issue of initial cost, maintenance, and power consumption, I feel the lake could benefit from something like that if it were located in the right area and moved enough water. To cut costs, I imagine you could shut it down in the off season with minimal negative impact.

At the very least, its a crazy idea that can be built on a bit.

Not crazy, just not practical. If every drop of water that flows in the rivers was allowed to pass the dams into the lake, it would raise the level, but not fill it on most years. Additionally, the only current would be at the inlets.

Creating a current on the lake would be impossible without a couple of nuclear power plants running pumps. LOL I am an Engineer, and I have to do flow calculations on occasion, and what you suggest would take some monster pumps with monster power. Probably costing more then the State of Utah's GDP.

But, often the best ideas come from brainstorming. Perhaps we could use the wind by creating direction barriers in the water that would utilize the prevailing wind to generate current. That happens already and once we get the wind it does stir up the lake and helps a lot. The calculations we be difficult, but it might be possible.

Perhaps your idea could lead to a solution, an expensive one, and potentially full of its own environmental issues, but ........ maybe.

Fishin'
My bucket list has a hole in the bottom of the bucket.
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Re: [Dirty42] Is Utah Lake worth saving? In reply to
While there is no great end-to-end current in Utah Lake, it is subject to a lot of water disturbance and movement. It is a shallow lake and when the wind blows it turns over the water layers and pushes water from one side of the lake to the other.

As a shallow lake, with several tributaries, Utah Lake takes in almost a whole lake full of new water in good water years. In short, it does get flushed about as much as a large impoundment with a constant flow from inlet to dam.

It would be much cheaper to harness all the carp together and get them to swim in one direction than to go to the expense and disruption of building a nuclear water flusher.

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