The National Fish and Wildlife service met with Montana Fish, Wildlife and parks yesterday, August 19, to discuss whether or not the Arctic grayling should be placed on the endangered species list. According to Montana FWP spokesman Ron Aasheim, the meeting was good news for Montana.

"The bottom line is the Fish and Wildlife Service handed down the decision that Montana Arctic Grayling are not warranted for listing as a federally threatened or endangered species," Aasheim said. "That's something we've been working towards since 1995. It's a big deal. The habitat is in good shape, the population trend looked good and the genetic diversity is there. They just said 'Hey, it's in good shape and there's no reason to list.'"

Aasheim says the arctic grayling is a unique Montana treasure.

"Well, Montana is the only state in the lower 48 in which the Arctic Grayling are native, period," Aasheim said. "As a result of that, it's real important that we conserve that genetic strain, and that's exactly what this bat is about. The Ruby Valley, the Big Hole, Centennial, all are doing something to enhance and conserve the Arctic Grayling population."

An endangered species listing for Arctic grayling would have brought a host of new regulations and restrictions to many Montana waterways, but a combination of efforts by state agencies, private landowners, and NGOs was able to avert the listing.