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State pays to clear Diamond Lake of unwanted tui chub


SALEM Oregon will pay $375,000 to help rid Diamond Lake of tui chub, a small, plankton-eating fish that is destroying the lake's ecosystem and strangling its tourist trade.

Rep. Susan Morgan, R-Myrtle Creek, got approval for the funding from House and Senate leaders last week.

"This appropriation is the final piece of funding for restoration work,'' she said. The money will go to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The U.S. Forest Service will spend more than $1 million and the Wildlife Heritage Foundation, a private conservation group, is conducting a fund-raising effort.

Work has begun on a canal to drain the Douglas County lake by some 8 feet.

"Biologists will then seine out as many fish as possible to reduce the biomass,'' Morgan said. Then a chemical agent, rotenone will be applied to poison the remaining chub beginning next year.

A similar treatment was used to rid the lake of the fish about 50 years ago.

Restocking of trout will take place once the lake is clear, Morgan said.

Once prized for its fishery, the lake has seen a 90 percent drop in visitors since the explosion in tui chub populations, which began around 1992.

In addition to crowding out game species, the tiny invaders eat plankton that otherwise would help keep poisonous summertime blooms of algae in check.





Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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