Jason--I check and the chemical they used to kill specks was antimycin. Apparently it is preferable to rotenone, although given the fact it kills everything down to microinvertebrates I'm not sure why. However, you are right in that rotenone was once the poisons of choice. It was what was used when they first started trying to re-establish specks.
One such usage took place in Indian Creek decades ago and was an abysmal failure. There were others, and I think a combination of factors led to abandoning use of rotenone--ineffectiveness, unwelcome side effects, difficulty in dosage control, etc. Presumably antimycin answered some of these problems, and there's no doubt that recent speck restoration efforts show more signs of success than early ones.
For me though, the jury's still out. There's been a great deal of money and wonderful volunteer effort go into this program over the years, but I'm far too much of a mountain boy not to have a healthy (and large) dose of skepticism. As I think I say somewhere in my book on the Park, I'll lead the cheering if the effort proves a success, but right now I'm waiting.
What I would really love to see, and if it's available I'm unaware of it, is overall information on the modern (antimycin) restoration program and where it stands. Does anyone know where matters stand on Bear Creek, for example.
The whole thing with bucket biology brings dismay, but it also offers an unfortunate lesson in how fragile this whole program may be. Rainbows have a real penchant to "take holt," to use the mountain vernacular, and I actually fear that all the publicity about this, while it may scare off the perpretrator(s), could at the same time encourage others.
Like it or not, there's a lingering and strong dislike of anything and everything connected with the Park in folks on both sides of the mountain. I've seen it all my life, argued with some people who hate the Park (mainly the "Build the Road" crowd) in person and in print until I was blue in the face, and eventually came to recognize the fact that we are still two or three generations away from the sense of loss folks experienced going away.
Incidentally, I can understand that sense of loss. Cataloochee and Cades Cove were pieces of paradise, and in the former there was literally wailing and gnashing of teeth when folks were told (by their preacher) they would have to leave. Think of it this way--if the govt. seized your land by eminent domain and paid far less than you thought it was worth, threatening all the while things would be even worse if you didn't accept their offer, wouldn't you be bitter?
That bitterness lingers, and unfortunately it sometimes finds outlets in destructive acts such as the Lynn Camp Prong "stocking."
P. S. This is probably more than anyone wanted to hear on this whole matter, but obviously the overriding issue and social situation are ones which interest me keenly. I might add that even given my sympathy to the great loss, some folks in Swain County consider me the spawn of the Devil because I wrote strong words arguing against the Road to Nowhere.