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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Recent Rotenone Projects in Alaska

Rotenone was commonly used in Alaska during the 1960s and 70s to prepare lakes for stocking. It was used in 2000 in a lake on the Kenai Peninsula to remove an illegally-introduced population of yellow perch. Most recently, rotenone was used to remove invasive northern pike populations in Cheney Lake and Sand Lake in Anchorage and in Arc Lake and Scout Lake on the Kenai Peninsula . Rotenone was also used to remove invasive pike from ponds in Yakutat where they had been illegally introduced. All five treatments have successfully removed the northern pike! A synopsis of each project is provided below:

Cheney Lake in Anchorage

Cheney Lake is an approximately 24-acre man-made lake located in east Anchorage and was historically a very popular location to fish for rainbow trout. In 2000 it was discovered that northern pike were illegally introduced to Cheney Lake, and the pike completely destroyed the rainbow trout fishery. The angling effort in the lake had consequently decreased to less than one quarter of what it formerly was. In addition to the lost recreational fishing opportunities in the lake, the invasive northern pike population posed other concerns. Cheney Lake is located in close proximity to Chester Creek which supports wild salmon runs and populations of other resident fish. As long as invasive northern pike were in Cheney Lake, there was a risk of introduction to Chester Creek.

During 2008, ADF&G applied for a Pesticide Use Permit from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) and developed an environmental assessment (EA) of the project to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A thorough public process was undertaken, and Cheney Lake was treated with rotenone in October of 2008. The lake was monitored throughout the winter. At ice out in 2009, Cheney was extensively sampled to make sure that there were no more live northern pike in the lake. Once it was concluded that Cheney no longer contained pike, the lake was restocked by ADF&G with rainbow trout. Since this stocking, the lake has once again become a popular place for Anchorage families to fish.

Cheney Lake Restoration Project - Final Environmental Assessment (PDF 2,234 kB)

For questions or comments, contact:
Kristine Dunker at 907-267-2889 or kristine.dunker@alaska.gov

Sand Lake in Anchorage

Sand Lake is an approximately 74-acre natural lake located in east Anchorage and was historically a very popular location to fish for rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, and Arctic Char. In 1994, an illegally-introduced population of northern pike was discovered in the lake. Consequently, ADF&G reduced the stocking level of trout and char in the lake. In 2006, residents of Sand Lake contacted ADF&G to seek help in removing the invasive northern pike population, and initial planning began to treat this lake with rotenone to restore the fisheries in the lake. In addition, Sand Lake is less that a half mile from Jewel and Sundi Lakes which do not currently contain northern pike. As with other rotenone treatments for invasive northern pike, these efforts were needed to prevent northern pike from spreading to other water bodies.

In 2009, ADF&G applied for a Pesticide Use Permit from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) and developed an environmental assessment (EA) of the project to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A thorough public process was undertaken, and Sand Lake was treated with rotenone in October of 2009. Prior to the treatment, northern pike and arctic char that remained in the lake were netted out and donated to a local food bank. Following the treatment, the lake water was monitored. In May 2010, Sand Lake was extensively sampled to make sure that there were no more live northern pike in the lake. Once it was concluded that Sand Lake was clear of invasive pike, the lake was restocked by ADF&G with rainbow trout, arctic char, and grayling.

Sand Lake Restoration Project - Environmental Assessment (PDF 2,031 kB)

For questions or comments, contact:
Kristine Dunker at 907-267-2889 or kristine.dunker@alaska.gov
Dan Bosch at 907-267-2153 or daniel.bosch@alaska.gov@alaska.gov

Arc Lake Near Soldotna

Arc Lake is an approximately 18-acre lake located two miles south of the Kenai River along the Sterling Highway near Sterling. Arc Lake had been stocked by ADF&G with landlocked coho salmon. Northern pike were discovered there in 2000 by ADF&G personnel, and stocking was discontinued. With the removal of the northern pike, ADF&G has restored this stocked lake fishing opportunity in the Soldotna area. Even more important, the removal of this species has lessened the possibility that the population could expand through illegal introduction into nearby critically important systems like the Kenai River.

Just like the Anchorage treatments, ADF&G applied for a Pesticide Use Permit from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) and developed an environmental assessment (EA) of the project during 2008. ADF&G conducted a separate public process for Arc Lake, and this lake was the first to be treated with rotenone in October of 2008. Following treatment, the lake water was monitored throughout the winter and spring. When it was determined that the rotenone was fully degraded and that all northern pike were successfully removed, Arc Lake was also restocked by ADF&G with land-locked coho salmon.

Arc Lake Restoration Project - Final Environmental Assessment (PDF 1,037 kB)

For questions or comments, contact:
Rob Massengill at 907-260-2928 or robert.massengill@alaska.gov

Scout Lake in Sterling

Scout Lake is located five and a half miles east of Soldotna and just south of the Sterling Highway. For many years, it was a popular stocked-lakes fishery. Northern pike were discovered there in 2004 by ADF&G, and all stocking was discontinued. Scout Lake covers approximately 85 acres, and the surrounding uplands are a mix of public (Alaska State Parks and Kenai Peninsula Borough) and private land. The successful restoration effort at Scout Lake served as a positive transition to the long-term goal of eradicating northern pike and restoring other Kenai Peninsula waters. Removing invasive pike from Scout Lake restored a popular stocked-lakes fishery and lessened the possibility that the pike population would expand through illegal introduction elsewhere on the Kenai Peninsula like the nearby Moose River.

As with the other treatments, ADF&G prepared an environmental assessment for this treatment and submitted an application for a Pesticide Use Permit from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. The rotenone treatment took place during October 2009. Scout Lake was monitored throughout the following winter and spring to assure the pike had been eradicated, and when this was confirmed, the lake was stocked with coho salmon and grayling to restore the recreational fishery.

Scout Lake Restoration Project - Environmental Assessment (PDF 4,725 kB)

For questions or comments, contact:
Rob Massengill at 907-260-2928 or robert.massengill@alaska.gov
Tim McKinley at 907-260-2913 or timothy.mckinley@alaska.gov
Robert Begich at 907-262-9368 or robert.begich@alaska.gov

Yakutat Village Pond System

The northern pike situation in Yakutat was complicated because pike were both native and invasive there. There is a remnant natural population of northern pike in lakes within the Yakutat Forelands. Pike from the natural population were illegally released in the Village Pond System within the town of Yakutat. This area is close to the Situk River which is renowned for its steelhead fishery. There was considerable concern that the invasive pike would move or be transported into the Situk and impact the steelhead runs. ADF&G treated the ponds in the winter of 2008-2009, and all invasive pike were successfully removed from the Village Pond system.

For questions or comments, contact Brian Marston at 907-784-3222 or brian.marston@alaska.gov

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