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Duck Fork Reservoir undergoes Rotenone treatment

By COREY BLUEMEL
Staff Writer

Crews begin Rotenone treatment at Duck Fork Reservoir.

Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, which are not native to Duck Fork Reservoir, were the target of the Rotenone treatments on Sept. 23. Situated four miles north of Ferron Reservoir, Duck Fork is slated to be restocked in late October with Colorado River Cutthroat Trout, a native species.

Duck Fork will be a brood lake for this genetically pure native trout, which will enhance conservation of the species and supply fish to be used in stocking other fisheries in southeastern Utah. The fish used to restock Duck Fork after this eradication are being imported from the White River drainage.

Louis Berg, safety crew leader, said the project was completed in a little more than two days. After that, tests will be done to determine if the Yellowstone cutthroat has been completely eradicated before restocking of the Colorado River cutthroat can be accomplished. The chemical dissipates rather quickly, so no long terms effects are expected.

Three crews consisting of 12 men and women, the safety crew, the reservoir crew, and the stream crew, began at 6 a.m. and after traveling to the reservoir, and having a complete safety meeting, began the treatment at about 10 a.m. The reservoir crew began distributing the chemicals around the lake. The stream crew set up 16 drip tanks, one at each tributary entering the lake to treat the fresh water coming in. Another part of the stream crew had backpack sprayers and began treating the surrounding areas, all the standing water and springs. While the safety crew oversaw the handling of the chemicals, the activity surrounding the lake was ongoing.

To prevent any leakage of the Rotenone into downstream waters, the outlet gate of the reservoir was closed and downstream is closely monitored for any possible chemical leaks. The drip tanks are set up to dispense 35 gallons of diluted chemical every 24 hours, and are monitored every two hours, around the clock, to insure the proper distribution of the chemical. These tanks will be filled twice during this treatment A large supply of potassium permanganate was on hand to detox any spillage or treat any chemical leakage into areas where it is not wanted.

Rotenone is made from the leguminous roots of plants native to South America. The chemical alters the hemoglobin in the fish making it impossible for the body to assimilate any of the oxygen taken in. All the workers in close proximity to the actual product are required to wear full Tyvek suits and respirators. No chemical is allowed to come in contact with the skin or breathed in. The dead fish are left in the reservoir for the birds and other scavengers and this treatment does not effect the meat of the fish and is of no harm to anything that eats it.





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