Northern Snakehead Fish Found in Catlin Creek in the Town of Waywayanda, Orange County

DEC Notifying Riparian Landowners of the Possible Use of Aquatic Pesticide and Holding a Public Meeting

In late May 2008, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Fisheries staff responded to a report by a local fisherman of an invasive species in Catlin Creek near Ridgebury Lake in the Town of Waywayanda, Orange County. Subsequently, DEC conducted an investigation and verified the presence of the Northern Snakehead (Channa argus), a species native to Asia.

While the Northern Snakehead is not a threat to human health or safety, it is an aggressive predator that has the potential to prey on and compete with native fishes throughout New York State. Left unchecked this predatory invasive is likely to rapidly expand its population and territory with real and negative economic impacts to the Hudson River watershed fisheries while causing potentially irreversible harm to rare and endangered species and natural communities. Therefore, the DEC has taken immediate action to attempt to contain its spread by erecting temporary fish barriers in Catlin Creek. DEC has determined that swift action to eradicate this species is essential to protect native fish populations and prevent any possible expansion of Northern Snakeheads beyond the headwaters of Catlin Creek.

In an effort to prevent further spread of this invasive species, the Department is considering treating the infested waters of Ridgebury Lake and Catlin Creek southeast of the County Route 6 crossing, including DEC mapped Wetland MD-26, with the aquatic pesticide Prenfish. Prenfish is a specially formulated product developed for eradication of fish from lakes, ponds, streams and reservoirs and has been used for many decades to restore aquatic ecosystems throughout the United States. The active ingredient, Rotenone, is an extract from several different tropical plants and breaks down rapidly after application with no lasting toxicity and poses no threat to human health. The application being considered, if done, will be undertaken by DEC staff trained and certified as aquatic pesticide applicators.

DEC sent letters to all riparian (waterfront) landowners and those with user rights notifying them of the possible use of this aquatic pesticide. DEC is also holding a public meeting Tuesday, July 8 from 7:00 - 9:30 P.M. at the Waywayanda Town Hall, 80 Ridgebury Hill Road, Slate Hill, NY to present information about the Northern Snakehead fish, discuss alternatives to stop the spread of this invasive species and take public comment