Invasive species force officials to poison two Utah bodies of water

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah — Wildlife officials will poison and temporarily drain two bodies of water in Utah to eradicate invasive fish illegally introduced into the ecosystem.

The Division of Natural Resources announced they will be placing a root based chemical, Rotenone, into Payson Lake and southern Utah’s Kolob Reservoir in the days to come to kill several unwanted species of fish.

Paul Badame, aquatics expert with the DNR told Fox13 that Kolob is being overrun with three main species of fish.

"So the fish that were introduced illegally are the Yellow Perch, Bluegill , and Green Sunfish. Yellow perch are really what we are seeing the most of," Badame said.

The second body of water, Payson Lake, is dealing with a similar situation except they have an invasion of goldfish. Badame said that goldfish, and the other unwanted fish species are being illegally placed into these bodies of water which has costly, time-consuming repercussions.

"Goldfish tend to get kind of big actually when they are outside of the fish tank and they tend to eat the vegetation, they stir up the bottom, and really they’re going to cause water quality problems," Badame said.

These fish create chaos in these ecosystems and cost the DNR money — all because people can’t follow the rules.

Some of the problems, according to Badame, include creating competition for existing fish, or invasive species sometimes eat the other fish that are wanted for recreation or environmental management. And that's not all.

"These fish can also escape out of the reservoirs they are put into rivers that might have sensitive or endangered fish and cause the same problem," Badame said.

Badame said the DNR will have to spend thousands of dollars to temporarily drain Kolob Reservoir and Payson Lake, kill the fish, then re-stock both bodies of water. As a result, he has a message for the people who use these lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

"Don’t take management of our state wildlife resources into your own hands."

Find rules and regulations for visiting Utah's bodies of water at wildlife.utah.gov.