California Department of Fish and
Game Drops Plans
to Poison Sierra Stream With Rotenone
SACRAMENTO — A federal judge on Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction barring wildlife officials from poisoning a Sierra waterway in an attempt to recover a rare species trout.
The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Frank Damrell puts an end to plans to attempt to restore the Paiute cutthroat trout to Silver King Creek by eliminating its competitors for food.
"This is going to pretty much do it for us, we're not going to move forward. We're very disappointed," said California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Steve Martarano.
Environmental groups opposed the plans, contending the poison, called rotenone, may be harmful to other organisms in the water. They argued that the U.S. Forest Service had not adequately measured the project's environmental impact.
"This sort of eradication is very dangerous, more often than not it doesn't work and you lose so much in the process," said Patty Clary, executive director of California for Alternatives to Toxics, one of the groups that sought to block the project. "This is very important to us because we see state and federal agencies in California just poised to begin poisoning streams all over the state."
State officials are expected to propose another round of poisoning for Lake Davis, a Sierra lake infested with a trout-eating species of pike.
Matarano said the judge's ruling would caution his agency to work closely with the Forest Service on that project.