Klamath Falls, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a public meeting on Monday, May 10 to outline plans to remove invasive brook trout from Threemile and Sun Creeks in order to boost native bull trout populations.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Oregon State University Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center at 3328 Vandenberg Rd., Klamath Falls, 97603. At the meeting ODFW will outline details of plans to treat both creeks in August, and give the public a chance to ask questions and offer comments.
In both creeks, native bull trout have been losing ground to introduced brook trout, which reproduce more quickly, said Roger Smith, ODFW district fish biologist in Klamath Falls. Brook trout can also interbreed with bull trout to create sterile offspring that compete for food and habitat.
Bull trout populations in the Klamath Basin have been listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act since 1998.
On Threemile Creek ODFW biologists have been suppressing brook trout numbers through electrofishing removal every year since 1996. Electrofishing uses electricity to stun fish so they can be caught and removed. While effectively buying time for bull trout to recover, electrofishing is not the complete answer to removing the invasive brook trout, Smith said.
Under the new plan the agency will treat approximately one mile of Threemile Creek with rotenone, a plant-based fish toxicant that will euthanize the remaining brook trout present in the stream.
The Oregon Conservation Strategy identifies the bull trout as a species in need of conservation. For more information about bull trout, its habitat requirements and threats to current populations, see the Conservation Strategy at www.dfw.state.or.us.
On Sun Creek, ODFW biologists will treat 2 .5 miles of the creek just outside of the boundary of Crater Lake National Park. According to Smith, the National Park Service already has implemented a successful program to eliminate brook trout from areas of the creek within park boundaries. As a result, bull trout populations within the park have gone from 200 fish in the late 1980s to almost 2,000 fish today.