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January 30, 2007
Chief of Fish and Game explains pike decision
QUINCY, California (STPNS) -- Ryan Broddrick, director of the state Department of Fish and Game, appeared before the Plumas County Board of Supervisors last Tuesday, Jan. 23, to explain his decision to use rotenone in the department's latest effort to eradicate pike in Lake Davis.
Broddrick told the board that attempts over the past 10 years to limit the growth of the invasive pike population in Lake Davis have clearly failed.
Consequently, the department, this time in conjunction with the Forest Service, will treat the lake with rotenone again. Broddrick specified that the rotenone would be contained in a new liquid formula called CFT Legumine, which will be much less odorous than the Nusyn-noxfish used in 1997.
"What's the great announcement?" Supervisor Rose Comstock asked. "I want to know about economic impact mitigation."
"There are two answers," said Broddrick. "First, we are going forward with a plan to eradicate the pike. Second, the limitations of CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) preclude us from making a cash payment up front for economic impacts.
"However, we are funding a economic monitoring program that will look at the pre- and post-treatment economic health of the area and will document any basis for an economic claim. If the impacts are greater than anticipated, then we will use a legislative process for paying any claims," he continued.
"What about law enforcement presence?" asked Comstock.
"I hope it will not be as high as it was last time," Broddrick said. "We will coordinate with the local sheriff's office to provide what's necessary to protect the project and community. But I don't expect a mutual aid call."
In an announcement to the press, Broddrick stated, "Today's announcement culminates nearly eight years of working in partnership with the local community, the Lake Davis Steering Committee, and other government officials to examine every option possible for tackling the pike problem in Lake Davis.
"It has truly been a remarkable effort, and concluding this plan represents the safest and most effective means, with the fewest environmental and associated economic effects possible, to eliminate the northern pike from the only place they are known to exist in California."
During the supervisors' meeting, Forest Service representative Angie Dillingham told the board that her agency's decision to issue a special use permit for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act is expected Feb. 6.
Dillingham explained that the Fish and Game project will require two forest closures. The first will be during the preparation and application of the chemicals. In addition to the lake itself, all the tributary, stream and seep areas will be closed.
Dillingham said she expected that people could drive into the lake area after five days but that the tributary areas would be closed for about two weeks.
The Department of Health Services will have to certify the water to determine that it is safe enough for a number of uses.
The second closure would occur if and when the lake level drops below 45,000 acre-feet. This would be to protect the cultural resources that lie under the lake beneath that level.
Dillingham explained that the Forest Service would assist wildlife in the area, including a pair of nesting bald eagles. The dead fish will be handled as hazardous waste, not because of the rotenone but because of the bacteria that will quickly invade the dead fish.
"It's imperative this eradication project quickly moves forward," Broddrick said in a final comment. "Given the ever-increasing pike population, the increasing incidence of anglers catching pike, recent known incidents of anglers moving live pike, and the potential for spilling of the reservoir in extremely wet years, it is critical to minimize any delay."
The goal is to finish the project soon after Labor Day and begin restocking the lake with trout by the end of October.
By Lyn Walters, staff writer
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