Department of Ecology News Release - June 4, 2015

Fisheries water quality permit in the works

OLYMPIA – The public is invited to comment on a water quality permit that is being re-issued to allow the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to treat lakes and rivers to protect native fish species, habitat and recreation.

The Fisheries Resource Management Permit would allow the use of rotenone and a rotenone de-activating agent to reduce ecologically damaging and/or unwanted fish species, such as carp, tench, bullhead and sunfish. These species compete with game fish and interrupt ecological function in both lakes and streams.

Rotenone is an organic substance derived from the roots of tropical plants, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved for use as a fish pesticide. It has been used by WDFW in lake and stream rehabilitations for more than 70 years, and is commonly used by other fish and wildlife management agencies nationwide.

In Washington, rotenone is regulated by the state departments of Ecology and Agriculture.

Visit Ecology’s permit website to find out how to comment. Ecology will hold a public workshop and hearing about the permit on July 8 in Moses Lake.

Aquatic pesticides, when used carefully under a water quality permit, protect the many benefits that waters provide, such as clean water for drinking, for industrial and agricultural uses, and healthy water for shellfish, habitat, commerce, navigation, boating and recreation. 

A recent blog by Ecology explains how and why aquatic pesticides are regulated.


Sandy Howard, Ecology communications manager, 360-407-6408, @ecologyWA

Chris Donley, Department of Fish & Wildlife, 509-892-1001, ext. 307