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State seeks comments on hopefully last pike eradication plan

The comment period for the northern pike eradication plan for the Tote Road lakes area opened Monday.

Interested parties can comment on both the use of the pesticide Rotenone to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and on the environmental assessment to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Comments can be made to the agencies until May 17th and 18th, respectively.

KDLL spoke with Area Management Biologist Brian Marston in February about this project, which is the last in a series that’s lasted over a decade.

“You know there’s other areas that northern pike have been illegally introduced around the Southcentral area, especially around Alexander creek and the Mat-Su, you know where they’ve done a pretty good job reducing salmonid populations," Marston said. "And that also occurred here in Mackey Lakes area and in Stormy Lake for char.”

Northern pike, while native to Alaska, are an invasive species on the Kenai Peninsula. Decades ago anglers put the feisty sport fish in area lakes only to find out that they are murder on baby salmon and other smaller fish.

“They’re not naturally found here and the salmonids don’t have as much of a defense system or behavior to get away from them. And the habitats are slightly different, so that pike can cause a pretty good decline in salmonids, if not a total decline in the fisheries of those areas.”

The pesticide Rotenone has been used extensively in the other Kenai Lakes that have been cleared of pike. It’s a harsh chemical that kills all the fish in a lake. The trick is to only put back salmon, arctic char and other native fish, while remaining vigilant over the reintroduction of pike.

The contact information for submitting comments are below.

Written comments for the ADEC Application for Permit to Apply Pesticides may be submitted via mail, fax, or email. Written comments must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. Alaska Standard Time on Thursday, May 17, 2018. 

Application for Permit to Apply Pesticides 
Attn: Rebecca Colvin
Department of Environmental Conservation
Pesticide Program
555 Cordova Street, Anchorage, AK 99501
Fax: (907) 269-7510

Written comments for the Tote Road EA may be submitted via mail, fax, or email. Written comments must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. Alaska Standard Time on Friday, May 18, 2018. Mailed comments must be postmarked prior to May 18.

Tote Road Environmental Assessment
Attn: Robert Begich
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
43961 K-Beach Road, Suite B
Soldotna, AK 99669
Fax: 907-262-4709

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