Despite Protest, State Plans to Proceed With Fish Poisoning
A noisy protest by about 250 residents of Portola failed Tuesday to persuade state wildlife officials to stop plans to poison fish in a lake that provides drinking water to the Plumas County town.
The state Department of Fish and Game plans this fall to kill off thousands of illegally stocked northern pike at scenic Lake Davis to keep the predatory fish from invading salmon and trout fisheries downstream.
“The fact that Fish and Game can sit there with a straight face and say their plan is safe is ridiculous,” said state Sen. Tim Leslie (R-Carnelian Bay), who represents the area.
About a tenth of Portola’s population, including dozens of school children, carried water jugs plastered with skulls and crossbones along with petitions protesting the plan to Fish and Game headquarters.
The department wants to put an organic poison called rotenone and other chemical agents, including the carcinogen trichlorethylene, into the reservoir to kill the pike.
Lake Davis provides up to 50% of Portola’s water supply, depending on the time of year.
State officials contend that the $2-million fish kill, scheduled for October, will only temporarily render the lake unusable for fishing or drinking water, and that no long-term health effects will occur.