Denise Lake plan could be devastating

Posted: Friday, April 23, 2010

The recent meeting sponsored by Alaska Fish and Game on the "Restoration of Denise Lake" should have been titled, the Devastation of Denise Lake. Advertised partially to share information and concerns regarding northern pike and to "hear from landowners and others ... if support exists" for a rotenone chemical treatment of Denise Lake, the meeting featured Fish and Game personnel presenting their decision to proceed with the rotenone plan by applying for their needed permits. While the majority of people present protested, ADFG's decision to pursue permits to proceed with using the chemical, rotenone had already been made.

Denise Lake is a small landlocked lake near the Mackey Lakes with no evidence of pike since 2002 according to Fish and Game literature (even after Fish and Game gillnetted this winter). Fish and Game literature also reports that rainbow trout and coho salmon still survive in Denise Lake. Yet, Fish and Game personnel are going to utilize rotenone to destroy pike that may or may not exist as well as destroy all aquatic life (even the salmon and trout that their report does support) with the toxin, rotenone. One has to wonder how this will affect the food chain when loons and terns rely on the aquatic life in and around Denise Lake.

Rotenone is a poison derived from a tropical plant. Rotenone is used to cause Parkinson's disease in lab animals and undetectable amounts have been shown to cause Parkinson's disease symptoms. Unknown are the long term health effects of using the unorthodox method of introducing the chemical and its by-products on still water in October so that the chemical will remain active under the ice for the winter. Fish and Game literature also states that a second treatment of rotenone may also be required.

Wells around Denise Lake are as close to the lake as 110 feet. Yet, EPA guidelines state that "water treated with rotenone must not be used as potable water." A restriction against the use of rotenone within a half mile of potable water "must be included on labels." While Fish and Game personnel stated that rotenone or a by-product trichloroethylene (a carcinogen) will not reach wells, their own literature uses the words "unlikely" and "slight." I, for one, am not willing to risk my health and the health of my family to terminate fish that haven't been found since 2002.

A foreign product (pike) was introduced into a pristine Alaskan water system. Now, Fish and Game has decided to introduce another foreign and toxic product (rotenone) into a landlocked lake with no known pike, at a huge expense and at risk to all of us who love, live on and swim in Denise Lake. A Fish and Game biologist said that there is no known human hazard to using rotenone as they propose in Denise Lake. Remember, there was no known human hazard to using DDT at one time either.

A heads up to the good people of the Mackey Lakes; you are part of the long range rotenone plan, too!

Carolyn Cannava


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