Barbs and Backlashes

Carter Lake Renovation Update by whitetips
October 7, 2010, 1:35 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags:

I believe that most have heard about the Carter Lake rotenone renovation already.  I just want to give a little update on that project.

84 barrels of rotenone were needed to treat Carter Lake.

Carter Lake is a border water on the east edge of Omaha.  Over the years this oxbow lake has suffered from poor water quality.  The primary goal of all of the work being done at Carter Lake right now is to improve water quality.  Of course better quality water will also result in better fishing, and Carter Lake is located where there are a lot of potential anglers living close by.

The aquatic habitat rehabilitation project at Carter Lake is a major project involving two different states, two different cities, numerous government agencies.  The planning process for this project has literally taken years and has given the public as much opportunity for input and education as possible.  You can read the water quality management plan that was developed from that whole process here, .

In spite of all the public involvement and planning I have heard some complaining and “sniping” about the project since the rotenone was applied.  For example, you can read some of that here, .  I guess there were even some dead fish dumped at the Carter Lake City Hall in some form of “protest”, .

Before the rotenone was applied at Carter Lake, there were numerous levels of review done by several entities.  Those reviews and approvals considered the impacts to all parts of the Carter Lake ecosystem including birds and other wildlife.  We have been told in that review process that rotenone renovations in the late summer or fall are better for birds because at that time of year birds are migrating or can at least move to another food source if they had been utilizing fish from a water that was chemically renovated.  If a rotenone renovation was done in the spring or early summer, there could be young birds dependent on that food source that could not pick up and move to another food source.  With improved water quality at Carter Lake, all fish and wildlife, including birds, will benefit.  I have said this before about aquatic rehabilitation and chemical renovation projects–there will be some short term sacrifice for long term gain.

We typically do not pick up dead fish following a rotenone renovation.  There is no waste in nature and at the least the fish that die from a rotenone renovation will decay and be recycled back into the ecosystem.  But, there is no doubt that a pile of dead fish stink, and if that is a concern, there are times when the dead fish will be picked up following a rotenone renovation.  Fisheries crews from Iowa and Nebraska picked up dead fish in the days following the rotenone renovation at Carter Lake.  There were 88 tons of dead fish picked up at Carter Lake; that works out to 500 pounds of fish, almost entirely carp and buffalo, per acre of water.  Apparently, there were very few sport fish left in Carter Lake after last winter as very few were seen when the rotenone was applied.


Anyone want to volunteer to let us use their boat to pick up dead fish?



88 tons of dead fish, mostly rough fish, were hauled away.


There is still a lot of work to be done to improve the water quality of Carter Lake, but the project if well under way!  Restocking of fish will start yet this fall, and I am betting the fishery at Carter Lake will be better than ever in just a few years!


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This is a particular lake that I completely thinks needs a rehaul. The fact that game and parks from two different states are working on this project is very good. The cost of taking on such a project is very worthy in my eyes. It’s been the first lake that out of town visitors see when they step off the airplane.. I hope they suggest areation for homeowners, that can definetly help in shallow water . Does anyone have that in the plans? I know it attracts the geese but , shallow lakes need it to survive a long ice don’t they?? Tom Osborne pushed hard for that lake that holds trout.. WHY CAN’T WE FOR BASS? Desoto Bend was at one time, supposed to be the place to go for big bass, I hoped we learned from that. Let us not start bass trnments where we haul fish in a livewell all day, not thats the sole reason,no weeds,river flooding, fishgate, I’ll stop. Carter Lake can be different…Thank you for stepping up and making a difference.We have got some good lakes coming up in our parts,thanks to fishermen buying those licenses…

Comment by Ray

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