Poisoning Denise Lake does not address pike issues

Posted: Friday, May 21, 2010

As a 38-year resident of the shores of Denise Lake, it was with interest that I read the recent letter in support of Fish and Game's plan to poison the lake with rotenone. There were statements made however which ranged from misleading to simply factually inaccurate and warrant clarification.

Fish and Game would like to poison Denise Lake using rotenone under the justification that the lake is part of the Soldotna Creek drainage and therefore the starting point for their attempt to eradicate the entire drainage of pike, as they recognize that pike pose a threat to our treasured salmon.

Fish and Game caught pike in a net in Denise Lake in 2002. Subsequent sets more recently and within the past month failed to show any remaining pike. If you accept the methodology used in 2002 to prove the presence of pike, then you must also accept that the same methodology now proves the absence of pike. The writer implies that a single study referenced a link between Parkinson's Disease and rotenone applied topically. A cursory PubMed search yields 418 peer-reviewed articles describing the link between Parkinson's and this herbicide, and not just applied topically as she describes, but intra-gastrically, ie: ingested when you're swimming in the lake. Indeed, the use of rotenone is an accepted means of inducing a Parkinson's Disease model in the lab -- not simply a vague, rare finding.

The writer asserts her belief that Fish and Game has "done their research" on rotenone and she feels it's safe and won't get into our wells. I inquired at the meeting held what long-term epidemiologic data they had collected from areas of rotenone use elsewhere, or even in South American native populations who chew the root from which rotenone originates. They had no long-term studies, just one older tech who described his personal experience when spreading rotenone with his lips going numb and his skin and eyes burning and stinging.

If you have no firm data as to the long-term effects of the chemical (ie: over generations) this is anything but "well-researched" this is "trust us" (think Agent Orange and DDT).

Finally the writer states that of those residents that cared enough to attend Fish and Game's meeting, the majority were supportive of poisoning the lake. There were exactly seven people who spoke out opposing this plan. There was exactly 1 who spoke in favor, stating that he wanted the pike in the Soldotna Creek drainage eradicated as it threatened our salmon. Seven opposed, one in favor. Perhaps the writer simply has a different understanding of what constitutes a majority?

The preponderance of evidence shows no remaining pike in Denise Lake. A majority of people that live on the lake don't want this poison dumped in it. And perhaps most importantly, Denise Lake is not part of the Soldotna Creek Drainage. There is no viable connection. Fish and Game's own literature acknowledges this! Spending taxpayer monies to poison Denise Lake will do exactly nothing in terms of addressing the problem of pike in Soldotna Creek.

Mathew Cannava


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