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State and Federal Agencies Poison S.D./Nebraska Lake

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On September 10, fisheries biologists from federal and state agencies took the extreme step of poisoning Lake Yankton, on the South Dakota-Nebraska border, to remove undesirable and invasive fish species. Officials in South Dakota and Nebraska took this step because game fish such as bass, bluegill, catfish, and walleye had been crowded out by carp and other invasives in the lake.

The problem started in 2011 when flood waters caused the Missouri River to backflow into the lake - the invasive fish species came in with the flood waters. It took about 700 gallons of the poison rotenone to kill every fish in the lake.

This drastic measure shows the serious threat posed by aquatic invasive species. It's why the League organizes the annual Missouri River Clean Boat Event each spring in the area - to teach boaters and anglers how they can prevent the spread of invasive species. The three critical steps are clean, drain, and dry. (For more detailed instructions on clearing out aquatic invasives, visit the League Web site.)

Lake Yankton will be refilled and restocked. However, it could take up to two years or more for the fishery to return to normal.