State fishery managers are gathering public comments on plans to treat a number of east side waters this fall to remove unwanted fish species.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has plans to treat Badger Lake in Spokane County, Spectacle Lake in Okanogan County and the Hampton and Pillar-Widgeon lake chains in Grant County south of Potholes Reservoir. The plan calls for the use of rotenone, a naturally occurring pesticide, to remove species ranging from bass and bullhead to stunted panfish.
The Pillar-Widgeon chain is made up of 10 waters, including: Pillar, Snipe, Cattail, Gadwall, Poacher, Lemna, Shoveler, Sago, Hourglass and the Widgeons. The Hampton chain is made up of Upper and Lower Hampton, Hampton Slough, Hen, Dabbler, Marie and three small, unnamed ponds. Both chains are on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge.
“The goal is to restore trout populations by removing competing species that have essentially taken over,” Bruce Bolding, warm-water fish program manager, said in a news release. “Illegally stocked fish compete with trout fry for food and prey, rendering efforts to stock trout fry ineffective.”
A final decision on the proposal will be made by agency director Phil Anderson in early September.
Rotenone is derived from the roots of tropical plants, and has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use as a fish pesticide and as an insecticide in the agriculture industry. It has been used by the state agency in lake and stream rehabilitations for more than 70 years, and is commonly used by other fish and wildlife management agencies nationwide.
The department will accept written comments through Aug. 23. Comments should be addressed to Bruce Bolding, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
In addition, staffers are holding four public meetings this month to discuss the proposal.
One meeting was held in Ephrata. The remaining schedule, each meeting runs from 7-9 p.m., is:
July 29: Natural Resource Building, 1111 Washington St., Olympia, Room 175.
July 30: Tonasket City Hall council chamber, 209 S. Whitcomb.
July 31: Cheney Community Library, 610 First St.