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For Immediate Release Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Agencies Seek Comment on Diamond Lake Draft Alternatives

ROSEBURG - Several alternatives to fixing Diamond Lake have been drafted and the multi-agency Diamond Lake Working Group is seeking public comment. Public meetings are scheduled for Sept. 3 and 4 in Medford and Roseburg respectively.

For the last several years, Diamond Lake has been plagued with tui chub, algae blooms, poor water quality, and a declining recreational fishery. The working group formed last summer to begin addressing these issues, and the Umpqua National Forest is currently preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze treatment options for the lake.

The public is invited to comment in Medford at the Rogue Regency Inn, 2345 Crater Lake Hwy, on Sept. 3 or Roseburg at the City Council Chambers, 900 SE Douglas Ave, Sept. 4. The time for both meetings is 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Sherri Chambers, Diamond Lake team leader, expects to release a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in February 2004 for wide public review. "However, we now have several alternatives drafted, and we'd like to hear back from the public, whether they think we've achieved a full range of alternatives. New ideas are always welcome."

Chambers added that collecting public comments at this point in the process is important for the Diamond Lake project. "In the past, we typically waited until the Draft EIS was released to ask for additional public input on a project. However, we believe that getting

Diamond Lake public meetings, continued
comments now while alternatives are still being drafted provides us with a better opportunity to incorporate public suggestions into the project in a timely manner."

Current draft alternatives include the following:

· "No action," which is required under environmental laws, would leave Diamond Lake in the same condition as it is now.
· Proposed action, which has a number of components including lowering the lake by eight feet, mechanical fish and fish carcass removal, a rotenone treatment, monitoring and a fish restocking strategy. The objective of this alternative is to have a complete fish kill as a first step in improving water quality and the recreational fishery.
· Put and take fishery is designed to provide an improved recreational fishery that has minimal potential impacts on water quality. This alternative is identical to the proposed action except that it would utilize a different fish stocking strategy to restock the lake following rotenone treatment. This alternative would also require ODFW to seek approval from the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission (Commission) and the public to change stocking strategies at Diamond Lake.
· Antimycin A treatment alternative is designed to reduce the effects of a chemical treatment on non-target species, such as frogs, in and around Diamond Lake while maintaining the goal of a complete fish kill. The alternative includes many aspects of the proposed action including lake draw down, fish and fish carcass removal, and monitoring.
· Mechanical/Biological alternative responds to the issues of fish stocking, non-target species, water quality and wetland ecology. There would be no eradication of tui chub, the population would be limited or controlled using mechanical removal techniques in combination with predacious fish stocking. The alternative would require annual mechanical harvest of tui chub for six consecutive years. Again, ODFW would seek approval from the public and the Commission to change fish stocking strategies.

Two additional alternatives that are being investigated further include draining the lake and detonating explosives in the lake. "We're still looking at data and studying these two
alternatives. If they aren't feasible, they will not be included in the final Draft EIS," Chambers said.

Diamond Lake public meetings, continued
A Final EIS and Record of Decision is scheduled for release in late spring next year. Initial implementation activities associated with the selected alternative could begin in the fall of 2004 and span several years.

For more information, check the Umpqua National Forest's Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r6/umpqua

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Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Contact: Meghan Collins (541) 440-3353 or Sherri Chambers (541) 496-3532
Internet: www.dfw.state.or.us Fax: (541) 673-0372
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