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Local editorials

No better way for Diamond Lake

Poisoning the tui chubs isn't perfect, but it will let the lake start over

You'd think there'd be a better way to deal with problems at Diamond Lake than to kill what's in the water with chemicals.

But we don't think there is.

We don't think there is despite three environmental groups' appeals this month of a Forest Service decision to use the chemical rotenone to rid the lake of millions of nuisance fish.

The groups say the government is overlooking the effect the chemical will have on the rest of the lake area's biology, that it might hurt wetlands and spread bad weeds.

It might.

But if there's a better way to rid the lake of the fish that are ruining it, no one has come up with it so far.

— We include in that assessment the idea by the environmental groups that the government could mechanically remove the nuisance tui chubs and stock the lake with predator fish that would eat many that remained.

In the decade or so since the tui chubs first illegally entered the lake, probably as fishing bait, their population ballooned to more than 30 million ' a million or so chubs per acre. The fish are small and aggressive and have shown a tendency to eat instead of being eaten.

Using machines to pull chubs from the lake and then stocking it with predators wouldn't rid the lake of chubs, it would only diminish their numbers. They eventually would grow back into the problem they are today.

This is more than a matter of ruining Diamond Lake's fishing, although the tui chubs have done that. They're also behind the toxic algae that has bloomed in the lake in each of the last few summers, limiting swimming, boating ' even wading.

Unless Diamond Lake is to become permanently brackish and dangerous to people, its situation has to change.

The government has listened and considered and studied this for a long time. It has contemplated options as drastic as blowing up the lake with explosives and as benign as leaving it alone. The chemical solution, at a cost of &

36;1.6 million, is at neither extreme, although it is not perfect.

A regional forester will decide next month whether to halt the project because of the environmental appeals. We sympathize with the groups' concerns for the lake, but we think the Forest Service ought to go ahead with the chemical plan.

Diamond Lake needs to start over, and the rotenone will give it that chance.

SOU gets enticing

In an effort not to repeat last fall's low enrollment and the loss of &

36;1.35 million in state funding, Southern Oregon University is attempting to attract more local students with those age-old enticements, instant gratification and money.

The university has been holding events that make it easier and faster to register and is offering new scholarships to students from Southern Oregon.

The On-the Spot program, which gives applicants an admission decision in 15 minutes, and the &

36;1,000-a-year Provost Scholarship for residents of Jackson and Josephine counties enhance the attractiveness of the college to new or potential qualified registrants.

We applaud SOU's effort to keep enrollment up and costs down for local students. The university is an important part of the Southern Oregon community, and needs to attract as many students as possible as it competes with other institutions in the increasingly competitive world of higher education.