The California Department of Fish and Game's plan to poison all the fish in one San Joaquin Valley lake and two river systems that flow across Tulare and Kings counties was put on hold Tuesday by an order from the California Supreme Court.
The massive project, to have started today, was designed to eliminate the predatory white bass populations in the Kaweah and Tule River systems before they migrate north into the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta.
White bass are a non-native game fish that were illegally planted in Lake Kaweah and other waterways in the Central Valley, according to Nick Villa, the department's White Bass Project director. He said these voracious predators will pose a threat to the salmon, steelhead trout and striped bass fisheries in the Delta if they manage to migrate north from Tulare Lake into the San Joaquin River drainage system and eventually end up in the Delta.
To kill the white bass, the state wants to pump nearly 6,000 gallons of the insecticide rotenone into Kaweah Lake, a 150,000 acre-foot flood control and irrigation reservoir operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. The lake--located just outside Sequoia National Park--is a popular recreational area in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Visalia.