Officials kill invasive fish in Oregon ponds

UMATILLA NATIONAL FOREST, Ore. — Oregon wildlife officials are trying to remove goldfish and other invasive fish that have been introduced to ponds in the Umatilla National Forest.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife treated two ponds Wednesday to remove schools of goldfish and bullhead catfish that have been illegally introduced to the water, the East Oregonian reports.

“Why you take your goldfish out here, I have no idea,” said Bill Duke, district fish biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in Pendleton.

Crews put a plant-based poison into the ponds that kills all fish in the water, including uncaught trout. Wildlife officials stock the ponds with rainbow trout for anglers.

Duke said the goldfish and catfish increased competition for food and space, stunting the fishery. By poisoning the ponds they must restart the fisheries.

“You can’t control (goldfish) once they get in here,” he said. “They overpopulate and stunt themselves out.”

Nine other ponds across northeast Oregon will also be treated, including: Keyhole, Granite Meadows, Goldfish, Yellowjacket and Windy Springs ponds in Umatilla County; Luger and Peach ponds in Union County; Kinney Lake in Wallowa County; and Balm Reservoir in Baker County. The ponds will be restocked and ready to fish by spring.

The poison used is a natural occurring substance called rotenone. It is not possible to consume enough water or fish to get a lethal dose for a small animal, but the ponds will remain closed to all recreation for at least four weeks until the poison naturally breaks down enough the meet drinking water standards, officials said.

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