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Diamond Lake: fish or cut bait

Local editorials

Study and public comment is all well and good, but we need to get moving

We're all for taking the public's pulse on a subject, but at some point you've got to stop measuring and settle on the number.

The government should be at that point by now ' at least at that point ' in the debate over how to deal with unwanted fish in Diamond Lake.

The Mail Tribune's first editorial on this subject appeared in this space eight years ago, when we advocated using the chemical rotenone to clear the millions of minnows known as tui chubs from the lake's waters.

That's still among the government options, and it's still the best, in our estimation, largely because it's the only approach likely to get the job done.

That's if a decision ever is made. The Forest Service remains in the process of developing a draft impact statement for the project. It must be issued and a final statement must be developed and issued before anything can be done about the fish.

Another meeting is set next week of a working group at which the Forest Service will solicit more comment on approaches. I want to hear from the experts and the public if we have a stand-out (alternative), said Umpqua Forest Supervisor Jim Caplan.

— The government's approach to crafting such documents appropriately leaves a lot of space for public opinion. But the process is next to useless when it moves this slowly.

Costs mount. Problems fester. Eyes glaze.

Which brings us back to Diamond Lake.

An estimated 32 million tui chubs ' probably introduced a decade or so ago as fish bait ' clog the lake's once-clear waters. They are responsible for ruining the lake's trout fishing reputation, killing much of its insect population and causing a dangerous algae bloom that has closed the lake to boaters and swimmers some of the last two summers.

This is a serious problem, one that demands something be done.

More discussion, more debate will be the result of any direction the Forest Service chooses.

For now, it just needs to choose a direction and let the process move along.

Do the math

Two news items in Tuesday's Mail Tribune raised our eyebrows.

The first reported that Congress has approved &

36;4 billion a month for military operations in Iraq and &

36;1 billion a month for Afghanistan. That's &

36;45,000 per soldier per month in Iraq and &

36;100,000 per soldier per month in Afghanistan.

The second item said Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, who visited Oregonians stationed in Iraq, reported that there is not enough body armor for every soldier, and armored Humvees are in short supply.

What's wrong with this picture?

A nation that can authorize &

36;45,000 a month for each and every soldier can't make sure all personnel are properly equipped?

Despite the shortage of equipment, DeFazio said, the soldiers' morale is good, and they are looking forward to coming home after 10 months in the country.

We just hope they get to.