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Massive Fish Ethnic Cleansing in SF Park

Scott Lucas | November 13, 2014 | Lifestyle Story City Life

In a scene that could have been lifted straight from a horror movie—or an outtake from The Cove—but was actually laid out in today’s Chronicle, hazmat-clad workers pumped gallons upon gallons of poison into the Presidio's Mountain Lake yesterday morning. Within hours, thousands of fish carcasses had risen to the surface, where waiting workers scooped them out.

Holy Jesus. Can you just imagine what they would have done to George Lucas if he had ended up with his museum in the park?

The Presidio Trust carried out the $12 million piscine ethnic cleansing to eliminate what planners call invasive species, with the goal of returning the lake to the condition it would have been in prior to the arrival of European settlers. Over the centuries, new species had driven out others, leading to a massive—and apparently undesirable—amount of carp, goldfish, and silvery fingerlings in the lake. Now, the city hopes to reintroduce species like three-spined sticklebacks, Western pond turtles, and chorus frogs. (Native plants are also being reintroduced in the place of newer growths.)

To provide more living space for the new, old creatures, the crews pumped the lake full of rotenone, a poison made from legumes. It’s enough to kill the fish by suffocation, but not to harm birds or humans (both of which also post-date European contact, so you know…). The compound dissolves in sunlight and is expected to dissipate within the next three days.

This all seems kind of horrible, is what we're saying. Are we wrong here?

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