The Lahontan cutthroat trout has a long evolutionary history in the Great Basin (Nevada, Utah) and is highly distinct from other subspecies of cutthroat trout. Historically, it was found in a wide array of stream and river systems as well as freshwater and alkaline lakes. As a result of this diverse habitat, Lahontan cutthroat developed a variety of life histories, including resident stream, migratory, and lake-dwelling forms. Today, the Lahontan cutthroat is imperiled by a variety of factors and has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1975. Only 8.6 percent of its historical stream habitat is currently occupied, and self-sustaining native populations remain in less than one percent of its historic lake habitat.
Competition from non-native fishes, particularly brook trout, lake trout, and rainbow trout, is the primary reason for the decline of the Lahontan cutthroat trout. The majority of remaining populations are in small, isolated stream reaches, making the long-term persistence and viability of these populations unlikely. With increasing threats from non-native species and changing environmental conditions, the window for implementing a turnaround for this species is narrowing.
With this in mind, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is accepting applications for its Lahontan Cutthroat Trout initiative, with the aim of protecting existing pure populations of Lahontan cutthroat from contact with non-native trout, sustain existing populations in lakes, connect isolated populations into larger, more resilient populations, and increase Lahontan cutthroat angling opportunities.
Key conservation strategies for this program include reducing/eradicating non-native fishes; reconnecting and expanding populations; increasing stream flow; improving river, stream, and riparian habitat and function; managing recreational fishery for native fish; and implementing genetic and population monitoring. To date, the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout initiative has funded the opening of seventeen miles of stream through fish passage improvement, initiated a genetic monitoring program, and constructed three barriers to restrict the movement of non-native fish.
Up to $730,000 in grant funds are available in 2018. Applicants should provide a non-federal match of at least $1 for every $1 of NFWF grant funds requested. Eligible non-federal matching sources can include cash, in-kind donations, and/or volunteer labor that is directly related to the project proposed for funding.
Eligible applicants include local, state, federal, and tribal governments and agencies (e.g., townships, cities, boroughs); special districts (e.g., conservation districts, planning districts, utility districts); nonprofit organizations; and schools and universities.
Pre-proposals must be received no later than June 7. Upon review, selected applicants will be invited to submit a full application by August 16, 2018.
See the NFWF website for complete program guidelines and application submission procedures.