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RSRICHMOND at aol_com: NANFA-- NY Times Northern pike story
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From: RSRICHMOND at aol_com
To: nanfa at aquaria_net
Subject: NANFA-- NY Times Northern pike story
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 09:33:12 -0400 (EDT)
Message-ID: <971019093311_1722821142 at emout17_mail.aol.com>
This is quite a story, from the New York Times 10-19-97. I don't
their description of rotenone, can anyone shed some light on it?
Ferocious Fish Are Gone, but the Controversy Is Not
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California Fish and Game officials have declared
victory over a game fish that invaded a Sierra Nevada reservoir and
threatened the state's fisheries, but it may take months to make peace
After more than two years of court battles, litigation and protests by
residents of Plumas County, about 100 state wildlife agents poisoned Lake
Davis on Wednesday with 76,000 gallons of rotenone, a petroleum product
containing carcinogenic trichloroethylene. Soon the carcasses of
dead northern pike began to bob to the surface of the lake, about 125
northeast of Sacramento.
About 300 law-enforcement officers were on hand to watch over 100
protesters. Four protesters were arrested for chaining themselves to a
Three others were cited for damaging markers guiding the state's fleet of
Northern pike, a game fish with a reputation as a ferocious predator,
common to lakes and rivers east of the Rockies, but foreign to
How they got into Lake Davis, a source of drinking water for some 20,000
people, is a mystery. State experts suspect that an enthusiastic
wanted to spread the species, unaware of its effect on other fish.
The question for Plumas County residents was not whether, but how, to
remove the pike, which could have entered the Feather River and
the salmon fishery of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, east of San
Bay. The state favored chemicals, and the residents anything but.
Fish and game department officials insisted that rotenone, which
suffocates gilled creatures, was safe to use in the reservoir because it
not remain toxic for long.
"We are pleased with the quick effect the rotenone is having and the
number of the pike already being collected," said Banky Curtis, regional
manager of Fish and Game.
He promised to plant 700,000 trout in the lake as soon as scientists
determined that the water was no longer toxic. He said the evidence, so
showed that pike had consumed hundreds of yearling trout planted in the
But Curtis and his co-workers have become the targets of rage from
the 20,000 residents of Plumas County, where the Save Lake Davis
serves as a focal point for angry residents.
"I grew up thinking Fish and Game was the good guys," said Norm
who is co-chairman of the committee with his wife, Carol. "But they were
to run right over the community and bulldoze us."
Miller said the residents volunteered to help remove the pike by
or by electrocution, but were turned down by officials. "What they wanted
do was create a crisis that only they could solve," he said.
As evidence, Miller distributed copies of a sworn statement by Brian
Finlayson, a fish and game department scientist, who said in April that
his opinion, "30,000 acre-feet is the maximum water volume that can be
When the poisoning began Wednesday, the lake contained about 48,000
acre-feet, said Alexia Retallack, a spokeswoman for the fish and game
department. She said the numbers had been recalculated to allow for the
But it is this kind of issue that fuels the mistrust between the state
the residents. "Fish and game does not tell the truth," declared Fran
Roudebush, a member of the county Board of Supervisors.
The board had enacted an ordinance making it illegal to poison the
but a judge overturned it.
Supervisor Roudebush noted that the state's first public hearing on
issue was not held in California but in Reno, 50 miles to the south.
were more concerned with the fishermen from Reno than they were with the
citizens who live here and pay taxes," she said.
It may be small consolation, but the dead fish are being hauled to a
landfill in Nevada.
Copyright 1997 The New York Times
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