Trout stocking to resume on Greenbrier, Nicholas, Wyoming waterways

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Governor Jim Justice has announced that the state can resume stocking trout in waterways populated by endangered and threatened species.

During his weekly media briefing, Justice said that the state and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service came together to find a resolution that helped everyone.

“We pushed back as hard as we possibly could. At the end of the day, the Fish and Wildlife people decided to see this in a different light,” Justice said. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to endanger any endangered species. We don’t want to do anything that would endanger our environment in any way.”

Stocking will resume on Pinnacle Creek in Wyoming County, Camp Creek in Mercer County, and the Laurel Creek and North Fork portions of the Cherry River in Greenbrier and Nicholas County.

Those waterways were closed last month due to the presence of endangered or threatened species. Federal biologists feared that stocked trout were killing too many of those native animals.

State biologists with the Department of Natural Resources disagreed with those findings, Justice said at the time.

As part of the new agreement, West Virginia University will conduct a study to see what impact stocked trout are currently having.

In the meantime, the state is free to return to its previously scheduled stocking program.

“We’re going to be at it full throttle,” Justice said. “I really appreciate the good reason and logic from Fish and Wildlife. We couldn’t have gotten there if people there were hard-headed or stubborn. ”

The endangered species affected are the Candy Darters, Guyandotte River crayfish, and Big Sandy crayfish.

Candy darters are small fish native to the Gauley, Greenbrier, and New River watersheds. They are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, almost half of the species’ population has disappeared.

Guyandotte River and Big Sandy crayfish are two closely related crayfish species. Guyandotte River crayfish are listed as endangered, and Big Sandy crayfish are classified as threatened. They are native to several counties in Southern West Virginia, including Wyoming and Logan counties.

Sponsored Content