Trout may be removed from 7 lakes to help out frogs | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Trout may be removed from 7 lakes to help out frogs

Jonah M. Kessel / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Brook and rainbow trout could be removed from seven lakes in the Desolation Wilderness Area under a project proposed by the U.S. Forest Service.

The proposal ” developed in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ” is part of an attempt to restore Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog populations to the wilderness area and could affect Ralston Lake, Tamarack Lake, Cagwin Lake, Margery Lake, Lucille Lake, Le Conte Lake, Jabu Lake and their associated ponds and streams, according to a statement from the U.S. Forest Service.

Forest Service staff will hike into the Desolation Wilderness and set gill nets, which they will leave in place over the winter and revisit the following season. They will use backpack electroshockers to remove fish from connecting streams, the statement says.

The proposed lakes were selected because of their proximity to current populations of the frogs, which are under consideration for Endangered Species Act listing.

Before the 1950s, alpine lakes in the Desolation Wilderness were fishless and supported viable frog populations. Predation by the introduced trout is the best documented reason for the elimination of the frogs from more than 90 percent of their native habitat, according to the statement.

Although the project will result in the loss of fishing opportunities in the seven proposed lakes, other lakes in Desolation Wilderness have been identified as recreational fishing lakes and will be stocked in the future by the California Department of Fish and Game, the statement indicates.

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Comments should be submitted by Friday.

The proposed action, including information on how to provide comments and a map, is posted on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s Web site at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/ltbmu/projects.

For more information, contact Sarah Muskopf at (530) 543-2835 or smuskopf@fs.fed.us.

Under a separate proposal, the Forest Service also is considering the removal of the nonnative brook trout from the Upper Truckee River and associated streams and lakes from the bottom of Meiss Meadows to 3,000 feet above South Upper Truckee Road to help the recovery of the native Lahontan cutthroat trout.

Crews would use electrofishing to remove brook trout from streams and would use gill nets in Showers, Round, Dardanelles and Four Lakes, installing 10 to 15 gill nets per lake, according to a statement.

Implementation of the project would occur August through October over the next six years, the statement added.