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Ten Northeast Oregon ponds scheduled for chemical treatment

Sept. 23, 2015

Enterprise, Ore. – Starting on Monday, Sept. 28, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will begin chemically treating up to 10 Northeast Oregon ponds in order to remove illegally introduced fish that are harming trout fisheries.

The ponds to be treated are Luger, Boundary and Peach ponds in Union County; Keyhole, Granite Meadows, Goldfish, Yellowjacket and Windy Springs ponds in Umatilla County; Kinney Lake in Wallowa County, and Balm Reservoir in Baker County. These ponds will be closed to the public during treatment and for up to four weeks afterwards for detoxification.

The ponds will be treated with rotenone, a plant-based fish toxicant that is not harmful to humans, other mammals or birds.

Earlier this month ODFW relaxed angling restrictions on all 10 ponds, including the removal of bag and size limits and allowing the use of dip nets for harvest. These relaxed restrictions will remain in effect until Friday, Sept. 25, after which these ponds will close to all fishing through the end of the year.

“These three month closures will provide us with some flexibility for when we actually treat the waterbodies, and provide ample time for detoxification,” said Tim Bailey, ODFW fish biologist in La Grande.

All ponds are scheduled to be re-stocked with rainbow trout in spring 2016.

The goal of these rotenone treatments is to remove illegally introduced brown bullhead catfish, smallmouth bass, black crappie and/or goldfish, said Kyle Bratcher, ODFW fish biologist in Enterprise. Many of the waterbodies are overpopulated by these fish that compete with rainbow trout and reduce recreational fishing opportunities, he said. In many cases these fish have become stunted themselves.

“These fish also can become a source population for other illegal introductions that can degrade additional trout fisheries,” Bratcher added.

The tentative treatment dates for the 10 ponds are:
Luger Pond (Union County) - Sept. 28
Kinney Lake (Wallowa Co.) - Oct. 5
Boundary, Peach, (Union Co.) and Keyhole, Granite Meadows, Goldfish, Yellowjacket and Windy Springs ponds (Umatilla Co) - Oct. 7-9
Balm Creek Reservoir (Baker Co.) - Oct. 15

Bratcher notes these dates are tentative and may be changed if needed. During treatments each pond will be clearly posted and access restricted. Treatments at Peach and Windy Springs ponds will be contingent upon there being sufficient amounts of rotenone available after preceding treatments.

Rotenone is often used to remove undesirable fish species because it is an affordable and effective method with little threat of long-term environmental damage. Rotenone has been approved as a fish toxicant by the Environmental Protection Agency. At the concentrations used to kill fish, rotenone is not toxic to humans, other mammals or birds. It breaks down completely in the environment and will not be detectable within weeks of treatment.

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Contact:

Kyle Bratcher, Enterprise, (541) 426-3279
Timothy Bailey, La Grande, (541) 963-2138
Jessica Sall, Salem, (503) 947-6023

 
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