An Open Letter to Mr. Ted Williams – Following on his Commentary

Rarely have I seen an environmental issue so clouded by emotion and politics, or one with such bold disregard for science as this… 

My open letter today is written in response to comments made recently by outdoor writer Ted Williams at the website Conservation Magazine.  Among a roster of scientifically inaccurate statements, Williams says that Rotenone “…has never been seen to affect a single native ecosystem other than to restore it” and further claims there are no impacts to amphibians resultant from the use of the fish poison.


Dear Ted Williams:

Of course you understand that politics and nature writings are not the equivalent of SCIENCE. No more than character assassination is the equivalent of a rational discussion or debate. In response to your article, perhaps you could look to some more recent data – this on the California Red-legged Frog

Per the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Determination: “Based on the best available information, the Agency makes a Likely to Adversely Affect (LAA) determination for the CRLF from the use of rotenone. Additionally, the Agency has determined that there is the potential for modification of CRLF designated critical habitat (HM) from the use of the chemical. RQs for direct effects of rotenone to CRLF exceed acute and chronic risk LOCs by factors of 206X and 105X, respectively, and the likelihood of individual mortality of aquatic-phase CRLF is 100%. Indirect effects to the CRLF may also occur through the loss of both aquatic vertebrate and invertebrate forage items.”

One could only assume the USEPA to be some of those “chemophobes” you suggest we need to be warned about?

Given your vocal position, I would kindly encourage you to stop attacking the writers, the scientists, and the agencies, and begin rationally considering the SCIENCE relating to this issue.  You can learn more (or even watch a native frog die from a rotenone poisoning project for yourself – if you really doubt the numbers) by visiting

Michael C. Sprague, President

Trout Headwaters, Inc

Share Button

Leave a Reply