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Feb 2, 2011 11:12 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Trustees Say Poison Is Off The Table For Mill Pond

Feb 2, 2011 11:12 AM

The Southampton Town Trustees say they have ruled out using poison to kill off carp in Mill Pond and will use other methods to try to rid the troubled 
Water Mill pond of the destructive fish.

Despite pressure from pondfront residents and one of the Trustees’ most trusted advisors to use a chemical called rotenone to kill off the pond’s carp—as well as any other fish living in the pond—the Trustees said the proposal had become too controversial and had been dropped from the list of considerations for fixing the pond’s chronic problems.

“We’ll just find other ways to get the carp out and take care of the pond,” Trustee Fred Havemeyer said this week. “The residents were in favor of it, and it’s been done in numerous other situations, but the tenor of the discussion was just going in the wrong direction.”

Instead, Mr. Havemeyer said, the Trustees will put the emphasis back on their original plans to capture carp in nets and remove them from the pond. He said the Trustees plan to enlist the skills of several local commercial fishermen to employ a variety of netting tactics to capture as many carp as possible. The carp’s spawning habits in the spring usually bring them to the edge of the pond and could make corralling large numbers of them easier. Re-introducing predator species, most of which died in a massive fish kill in 2008, will aim to further reduce the carp populations.

The use of rotenone to kill the carp had been introduced by marine biologist Jim Walker of Inter-Science Research Associates in Southampton, who works as a consultant for the Trustees. He has argued that ridding the pond of carp is crucial to restoring native aquatic vegetation that will help balance the ecology of the pond, which has been plagued with thick algae blooms—like the one that sparked the fish kill—for years. The Friends of Lake Nowedonah, a citizens group made up of residents who live along the pond, had recently endorsed Mr. 
Walker’s plan to poison the carp and pledged to lend financial and manpower support to the effort.

Mr. Havemeyer said that in addition to netting the carp, the Trustees are still investigating other chemical treatments, primarily the use of a compound known as alum that would bond with nitrogen in the pond and starve the algae blooms of their primary fuel source.

A study of the pond’s waters by marine biologists from Stony Brook University in the wake of the fish kill revealed that the pond suffers from heavy influxes of nitrogen from groundwater polluted by decades of chemical fertilizers being spread on nearby farmlands.

The Trustees have hired Lee Lyman, Ph.D., a pond ecology expert from Massachusetts, to develop a plan for restoring the water quality to Mill Pond.

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Dynamite?
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Feb 2, 11 10:48 PM
If they use dynamite, I hope they'll tell us because half the town would be down there with tailgate parties to watch the show!

I think rotenone or something like it was used to clear carp or some other alien fishy species out of a small pond in Bridgehampton up by Scuttlehole Road ten or more years ago. I heard the pond was restocked and is doing well.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Feb 7, 11 9:26 AM
Duh
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Feb 7, 11 9:33 AM
Thank you Trustees for not bowing to pressure of a few residents and doing the right thing for all of us.Gil net and siening and power seining should put a dent in the carp population.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Feb 7, 11 10:29 AM
maybe they could get some ill tempered sea bass?
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Feb 7, 11 12:10 PM
Everyone knows the solution. It's as obvious as it is expensive. Keep the poop out of the pond. Convert pondfront cesspools to holding tanks. Funnel road runoff to holding tanks. Forbid fertilizer and insecticide use on pondfront properties. It will take twenty years before the effects are seen because there is virtually no water exchange in Mill Pond but it WILL be effective.

Mill Pond might not be what the pondfront homeowners hope for in those twenty years but at least the pond ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Feb 7, 11 1:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you to the Town Trustees for a wise and prudent decision!

How much time, effort and money was spent debating this absurd proposal to introduce mass poison into a very widespread ecosystem?

Links to previous articles are not above, but this issue has been on the table for a year or so, has it not?

What a laod of carp!

[sic -- both typographical errors are intentional]
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Feb 7, 11 7:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Lob a few hand grenades into mill pond. That ought to solve the problem.
By Bilge Water (131), Southampton on Feb 8, 11 8:12 AM
It's just so typical--bureaucrats know how to take all the fun out of clearing a pond. When are the sissies on the board going to let nature take its course, and allow the poison experts to do their job?? If they're so concerned about harmless chemicals, why not try something less poisonous? When we were kids we used to toss M-80s into ponds to stun fish. Give that a try. But stop overanalyzing and taming this down and let the men do their jobs and have some fun.
By Manorville Major (16), manorville on Feb 8, 11 3:47 PM
WHY NOT FILL THE POND IN AND BUILD SOME MORE CONDOS?
By jose1 (28), southampton on Feb 8, 11 5:28 PM