Ugly fish, ugly problem: No one’s sure how Northern Pike (example pictured below) first got into Lake Davis, but now state officials are convinced nothing short of draining the waters will make the predatory fish gone for good.
The prehistoric-looking pike can grow to be 3-feet long, and in the years since their mid-1990s discovery, 40,000 of them have been removed from the Plumas County lake by means including electroshock and chemicals—even though the lake is the source of drinking water for the small town of Portola.
“We were looking for the silver bullet but we never found it,” said Jim Murphy, Portola’s city manager.
Now, the California Department of Fish and Game is in the process of deciding among seven approaches to eradication, all of which involve draining much of the water from the lake. The state has already spent more than $13 million on the project, including $9.2 million in support to businesses damaged by loss of tourism as the lake was poisoned.
Steve Martarano, spokesperson for DFG, said if environmental studies indicate the lake should be drained, a plan will be in place this fall. It could take several years for the lake to recharge to its normal levels. The state’s greatest fear is that the pike will migrate downstream and devour smaller, valuable fish like salmon.
Murphy said that ironically, it’s not the pike that have done the most damage to Portola’s economy; it’s the media coverage. Murphy himself fishes Lake Davis nearly every weekend, reeling in huge trout. “The lake is still good fishing,” he said.
Hit, run driver pleads: Heather Bush, who had originally pled not guilty to charges of leaving the scene of an accident after fatally running down a bicyclist last year, unexpectedly changed her plea to no contest last week. Her sentencing will take place July 29, and the maximum punishment that can be handed down is four years.
The victim, Matthew Messina, will be remembered with a June 19 vigil, which his family has organized in hopes of raising awareness of the crime. The Messinas also hope to raise money for two foundations, the United Cerebral Palsy Development Department and the California Transplant and Donor Network. The vigil will take place at 3 p.m. on the corner of Pomona and Miller Avenues where they meet River Road—the place where the accident occurred.
Sun city: The solar panels supervisors voted to install at the county complex in Oroville last November will be collecting rays and producing power by the end of next week, according to county CAO Paul McIntosh. The panels, many of which are visible from Highway 70, are designed to provide all the electricity the complex needs, and on particularly sunny days, may even put extra electricity back into the local grid.