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West Bogg Residents Not Happy DNR Using Rotenone To Kill Fish
Updated September 11, 2014 8:37 AM
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(LOOGOOTEE) - West Bogg residents are not happy that park officials and members of the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife will be use Rotenone to kill fish in West Boggs Lake.

Rotenone is an odourless, colourless, crystalline ketonic chemical compound used as a pesticide, insecticide, and as a nonselective piscicide (fish killer).

Rotenone is classified by the World Health Organization as moderately hazardous. It is mildly toxic to humans and other mammals, but extremely toxic to insects and aquatic life, including fish.

Human deaths from rotenone poisoning are rare because its irritating action causes vomiting. Deliberate ingestion of rotenone can be fatal.

The compound decomposes when exposed to sunlight and usually has an activity of six days in the environment.

In 2000, injecting rotenone into rats was reported to cause the development of symptoms similar to those of Parkinson's disease

Because of that, using Rotenone is a problem with many of the local residents and members of the Daviess-Martin County Environmental Citizens Group. Many of them voiced their concerns at the Daviess County commissioners meeting Monday night.

State wildlife officials say they intend to use the chemical to get rid of a gizzard shad infestation that is squeezing out native species of fish.

The DNR has tried to lower the level of West Boggs Lake to kill the shad but it has not been effective. That is why they are going to the Rotenone treatment. They believe Rotenone is a safe chemical if used properly.

Brian Schoenung, of DNR, says the bulk of the treatment in the 150 acres lake will be done by boat with hoses. The airplane application will be made in small areas in the mudflats that cannot be reached by boat or on foot. Officials plan to also walk 22 miles of streams and ditches and apply rotenone where needed and also treat one pond in the area.

Schoenung stressed the chemical will be used safely.

"We will follow the directions, use trained applicators with people who know what they are doing and how important safety is," he added.

This is not the first time the state has applied Rotenone to West Boggs Lake. A similar application was made in 1994.

But residents are concerned about the chemical being applied by air.

Residents who went door to door found that many of the residents in the area are suffering from Parkinson's disease - a side-effect of the chemical.

Officials have begun lowering the water level of the lake and hope to have the water level lowed by 20 feet by late September. At that time the state plans to conduct a fish salvage operation, collecting around 700 adult large-mouth bass.

In early October the plan is to close the dam and then treat the lake with a chemical that will kill the remaining fish. The Rotenone will sit in the water for about 10 days and then break down naturally and lose its toxicity.

At that time officials will test the water, and once it is safe will begin restocking the lake.

Once the initial restocking is done, officials will close the dam gates and the lake will be refilled. The lake could be back to normal levels by April.

Then the large-mouth bass will be returned to West Boggs and DNR will do some additional restocking in the spring.

The new fish are being paid for by fishermen out of the money raised by people who purchase fishing licenses.
When it is complete the lake is expected to have a mix of large mouth bass, channel catfish, black crappie, redear sunfish and bluegill.

With the removal of the gizzard shad, the fish will not have to compete for food, allowing them to grow to record numbers.

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