District Faces Challenges in Obtaining Carp Permit
Recently the Devils Lake Water Improvement District held its March board meeting in board and approved the Devils Lake Plan by a vote of 4-1. As recently reported in the News Guard, article “Carp Still at Top of List”, a major component of the new Plan is the re-introduction of grass carp to Devils Lake.
In the process of developing the new Lake Plan the District solicited the comments of citizens and governmental agencies. In response to that request, Bruce McIntosh, Deputy Fish Division Administrator for Inland Fisheries of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife forward a letter to the District outlying ODFW’s position on the issue. The letter states “Oregon Administrative Rules prohibit the stocking of grass carp into public waterbodies unless public access is restricted or access is controlled by irrigation districts or drainage districts.” They continue “In addition to the existing rules and regulations which would prevent ODFW from authorizing additional grass carp stocking into the lake, there are a number of biological issues associated with the continued persistence of grass carp in the lake and potential impacts to fish species, including coho salmon listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. They continue to describe several examples that support this statement.
The District anticipated an initial rejection indicating that will formally appeal ODFW’s decision regarding stocking Devils Lake with grass carp. In their letter ODFW noted their Wildlife Integrity Rules which provide for a specific process to request that a controlled species, such as grass carp, be reclassified as non-controlled for specific purposes. Basically, the DLWID would need to formally submit a petition to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to modify the Administrative Rule which list Grass Carp as a Controlled species and address the specific limitations and restrictions for stocking.
The letter provides an opening for the District as they state “ODFW acknowledges and appreciates the efforts of the DLWID to improve the Devils Lake Watershed and water quality in Devils Lake. Our Department looks forward to working with the DLWID and other interested publics on the fishery management-related portions of the plan; to improve the lake for native fish and wildlife, providing warmwater game fish and trout fisheries consistent with the conservation of native species, and achieving swimmable fishable waters.”