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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


October 17, 2001
Contact: Jim Uehara, (360) 902-2738
or John Hisata, (360) 902-2797

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Impact statement on rotenone use available for public review and comment

OLYMPIA– A draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the state's use of rotenone in lake fishery management is available for public review and comment.

Citizens have until Nov. 6 to submit comments on the draft supplemental EIS by mail or e-mail to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The document may be viewed and downloaded from the department's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hab/sepa/sepa.htm. Written copies may also be obtained by contacting John Hisata, WDFW resident native fish manager, at (360) 902-2797 or Cynthia Pratt, SEPA/NEPA coordinator for WDFW, at (360) 902-2575.

Comments will be considered in development of a final supplemental impact statement (SEIS) on WDFW rotenone application procedures.

The supplemental EIS examines human health implications of rotenone use. Rotenone is used to rid lakes of undesirable fish species– many illegally introduced– that compete with or prey upon native or desirable fish species. The substance dissipates within a few weeks after it is applied.

A natural toxin derived from the roots of South American plants, rotenone is not lethal to fish eggs or warm-blooded organisms.

Currently, 206 Washington lakes, most on public lands in the Columbia Basin, are treated with rotenone at intervals of seven years or longer, said John Hisata, with WDFW's freshwater fish program.

Rotenone is used by 38 states, and has been used in Washington for some 60 years. The department undertook the new environmental review to ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect public and employee health, after questions arose on the national level about rotenone's potential human health effects.