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EPA conducted Rotenone experiments on Klamath Basin?

⚖️ Environmental Concerns The use of rotenone in the Klamath River Basin has raised concerns about its impact on other aquatic life, including endangered salmon populations. It can also harm invertebrates and amphibians.

“It is estimated that a 160-pound person would have to drink about 23,000 gallons of rotenone-treated water to receive a lethal dose.” 

– Alaska Fish and Game

Acknowledging Reasonable Concerns

The fact is that when we treat a water with a piscicide, fish and certain other forms of aquatic life float up to the surface dazed, dying, or dead. The chemical is an eerie green, and the folks applying the chemical are dressed in hazmat suits, and hazmat stands for “hazardous materials.” If it is so harmless, why are those doing it dressed as if they were cleaning up a nuclear waste spill?

Per the EPA, adults can swim in rotenone-treated water the day of application. A 1981 report said, “…swimmers should consider waiting for four hours before entering a treated pond or lake.” The agency only looked at swimming from a recreational standpoint because other recreation such as fishing would be significantly less risky.

“For all adult post-application scenarios, short-term risks for swimmers on the day of [rotenone] application do not exceed the Agency’s level of concern.”

-EPA, Reregistration Eligibility Decision for Rotenone

Doing research we can find reports and research papers that ROTENONE was used in the Klamath Basin as many studies are found. one such recent example is: ROTENONE USE AND SUBSEQUENT PREY LOSS LOWERS OSPREY FLEDGING RATES VIA BROOD REDUCTION

Rotenone is a natural plant toxin used for centuries by indigenous peoples of Southeast Asia and South America to harvest fish for human consumption (Ling 2003). Fisheries managers inNorth America began using rotenone to control unwanted fish species in the 1930s. Between 1988 and 2002, rotenone was used in 38 states (annually in 26) and five Canadian provinces (McClay 2005), continuing a trend of use by at least 35 states for more than 50 yr (McClay 2000). In the State ofWashington since 1940, 508 lakes were treated and 283 (55.7%) more than once (Hisata 2002).Rotenone is still in use as a fish management tool that is guided by standard operating procedures(Finlayson et al. 2018).

1958 article in Herald and News, Klamath Falls, Oregon

Miller Creek originates above Gerber Reservoir which is impounded by Gerber Dam east of the city of Bonanza. It descends southward to Langell Valley, where it turns into canals and pumping plants, paralleling the road to Miller Creek Road until it finally empties into the Lost River‘s mile 55.6 (km 89.5). There is on average a one-degree difference in temperature between Miller Creek and the Lost River at their confluence. Miller Creek has spatial variability in temperature thresholds, especially observed in the lower 4.7 miles (7.6 km) of the stream.

Gerber Reservoir, on Miller Creek, provides storage for irrigation and reduces flow into the reclaimed portions of Tulelake and the restricted Tule Lake Sumps in the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge.[3]

🚫 Rotenone Use in the Scott River Rotenone is a pesticide that is used to kill fish. It is sometimes used in the Scott River to control the populations of invasive fish species. However, rotenone can also kill native fish, including sculpin. As a result, the use of rotenone in the Scott River is controversial.

The use of rotenone in the Scott River, as in other ecosystems, raises several environmental concerns, particularly regarding its impact on non-target species and the broader ecosystem:

  1. Impact on Non-Target Organisms: Rotenone is known to affect not only invasive fish species but also non-target organisms. Studies have shown that rotenone can have adverse effects on amphibians and macroinvertebrates, which are crucial components of aquatic ecosystems. These organisms play significant roles in nutrient cycling, water filtration, and as a food source for other wildlife. The impact of rotenone on these groups can therefore have cascading effects on the ecosystem’s health and biodiversity [1].
  2. Chemical Residues and Water Quality: Another concern is the persistence of rotenone and its degradation products in the environment. Research indicates that the half-life of rotenone in water can vary significantly depending on environmental conditions such as temperature and water alkalinity. In conditions where the degradation is slower, there is a risk that rotenone and its byproducts, like rotenolone, may persist in the water, potentially affecting water quality and posing risks to aquatic life over a more extended period [2].
  3. Ecosystem Health and Balance: While rotenone is used to control invasive species and thus protect native aquatic ecosystems, there’s an ongoing debate about its overall impact on ecosystem health. The challenge lies in using rotenone effectively to remove invasive species without causing undue harm to native species and the ecological balance. This involves careful consideration of application methods, concentrations, and timing to minimize adverse effects while achieving conservation goals [2].

These concerns highlight the complexity of managing invasive species with chemical methods like rotenone. While it can be an effective tool for restoring native aquatic ecosystems by removing invasive fish, its use requires careful planning and monitoring to mitigate potential environmental impacts.

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