An important goal towards the eventual placement of sterile grass carp in Devils Lake this season was achieved today. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission met in Portland Friday February 17th, 2023. As you know the required administrative rule changes that we have been working extensively with ODFW staff to draft must be approved by the Commission and we were on the agenda. In short, the Commissioners unanimously approved the rule changes presented by ODFW staff. This clears the way for ODFW to finalize the DLWID Grass Carp Application currently on file. The District has been working with the ODFW staff for the past several months and are approaching the final steps required for approval of the application. Currently, we estimate re-stocking the lake with sterile grass carp sometime between May or perhaps June. You can watch the hearing beginning at the grass carp agenda item at this link.
We wish to congratulate the Devils Lake Water Improvement District on receiving this important approval. We wish to thank the members of the DLNA Weeds Group who played a key role in this achievement. Thank you as well to Oregon Representative David Gomberg for his support during this process. Finally, thank you to all in the community who supported our weed harvesting efforts last season and especially all who took the time to write the Commission prior to the meeting. Indeed, Commissioner Labhart specifically mentioned all of the letters and emails received in support of the proposed rule changes.
So what exactly did the Commissioners approve today? You can read the full text of the Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) change at this link. Here is what we accomplished and why. Prior to this rule change we were forbidden to place grass carp in the lake because the public has access to the waterway. The approved rule simply changes an existing exception from “land owned or controlled by an irrigation district” to the expanded definition of “special district”. This new wording captures Devils Lake as we have DLWID. This single word change effectively grants authority to the ODFW staff to approve our application and permit the placement of sterilized grass carp in Devils Lake.
What do we still have to accomplish? The District and ODFW staff must finalize the requirements of carp placement and then must receive final approval of their application. Once approved the District will purchase the fish from the approved vendor who will place PIT tags into the nose of each fish. The initial order will be shipped across the country and placed directly in our lake. We will keep you posted on each of these developments in real time.
Also coming this year is Round 2 of weed harvesting on Devils Lake. A small committee has been formed and we'll soon be meeting to work out the details for the 2023 season. We will adjust our operations applying lessons learned from our first season. And again count on us to keep you informed on those plans. This is a great day for Devils Lake, we are looking forward to a successful restocking in the near future.