History shall not repeat as far the Diamond Lake of the Douglas County, Oregon is concerned. At least that is what state officials and biologists hope for. The discovery of one tui chub in Diamond Lake unleashes tiger trout army so the Diamond Lake ecosystem can survive.
What is it about a tui chub that causes all this commotion? A few years back, Diamond Lake ecosystem was so dramatically altered that chemical poisoning became the norm. The alteration was spurred by tui chub the massive presence of which led to a blue-green algae bloom that almost killed everything in the lake.
With this in mind, state officials and biologists are firm on not letting history repeat itself. Tui chub’s presence in the lake was discovered for the last time in 1991. Until now, that is. By 2006, when the damaged ecosystem almost collapsed, there were 90 million tui chub in Diamond Lake. An extensive eradication effort brought the lake back and did away with the tui chub population.
In October, the celebration ended. One tui chub has everyone biting their nails. Greg Huchko with the ODFW Umpqua District and fish biologist stated:
“I’m hoping it was the only tui chub, but I’m operating on the assumption that it wasn’t”.
As such, one tui chub in Diamond Lake unleashes tiger trout army to predate on any invaders in sight. The ODFW (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) plans to bring 25,000 tiger trout Diamond Lake. A large crew working 24/7 during the summer will supervise the activity and continue searching for other tui chub.
Greg Huchko believes this time it may be different. Firstly, there is only one tui chub the presence of which was known. Secondly, this offers a clear vantage point. Nonetheless, the suite of strategies prepared to counter another invasion of tui chub reflects upon ‘better safe than sorry’.
Diamond Lake is touted a jewel of the south Cascades trout lakes.Rainbow trout and other strains grow beautifully here as the insect population of the lake is wealthy. Tui chub was used as live bait at some point in the early 1990s. From one tui chub, the population reached over 90 million in 2006. At this point, tui chub ate everything and overcrowded the environment. Thus, the toxic blue-green algae bloom came to the scene.
The war against tui chubs in 2006 was much more merciless. A public-private partnership was set in place at the time to study and fund the use of rotenone. Rotenone was released in Diamond Lake to kill everything that was left. The lake was repopulated in 2007. If finding the tui chub in an October catch predicts the advent of another tui chub expansion, Diamond Lake is doomed.
Scientists are hoping this is not the case. Nonetheless, 25,000 tiger trout will be sent out to fight the battle against the potential threat. Tiger trout are known for their ferocious preying on smaller fish. Chinook salmon and other rainbow trout fish are also known to rid a lake of dangerous tui chub populations.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia