OLYMPIA – State fishery managers will host five public meetings in mid-July to discuss plans to treat several lakes and two streams in eastern Washington with rotenone, a naturally occurring pesticide commonly used to remove undesirable and illegally stocked fish species from lakes and streams.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is proposing to treat Rigley, Rocky and Williams lakes in Stevens County; Hog and Fishtrap lakes in Spokane County and Ephrata Lake in Grant County. The lakes will be treated in the fall to remove species ranging from bass and bullhead to stunted panfish.
WDFW is also proposing to treat a 5-mile section of Smalle Creek and a half-mile of Highline Creek in Pend Oreille County.
“The goal is to restore trout populations by removing competing species that have essentially taken over these waters,” said Bruce Bolding, WDFW warmwater fish program manager. “Illegally stocked fish compete with trout fry for food and prey upon them, rendering efforts to stock trout ineffective.”
Bolding said the proposed treatments would help foraging waterfowl and their young at Ephrata Lake, where the birds compete with fish for food. The lake is managed for waterfowl habitat and is currently closed to fishing.
At Smalle and Highline creeks, WDFW is proposing to remove non-native eastern brook trout in order to restore a population of native westslope cutthroat, he said.
WDFW has scheduled public meetings to discuss the planned lake and stream treatments as follows:
- Colville: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, July 12, in the WDFW District 1 Office, 755 S. Main Street.
- Ephrata: 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, July 12, at the WDFW Region 2 Office, 1550 Alder Street NW.
- Olympia: 6 to 7 p.m., Thursday, July 13, in Room 175 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington Street.
- Spokane: 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, July 13, in the WDFW Region 1 Office, 2315 North Discovery Place, Spokane Valley.
- Cusick: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Thursday, July 13, in the Cusick Community Center, 107 1st Avenue.
In addition to input received at the public meetings, WDFW will consider written comments received through July 21. Comments should be addressed to Bruce Bolding, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
A decision on whether to proceed with the planned treatments will be made by the WDFW director in late July.
Rotenone is an organic substance derived from the roots of tropical plants, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved for use as a fish pesticide. It has been used by WDFW in lake and stream rehabilitations for more than 70 years, and is commonly used by other fish and wildlife management agencies nationwide.