Daily News Archive
May 1, 2006
Town Says No to Lake Pesticides
(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2006)
On April 26, 2006, the town of Natick’s (MA) Conservation
Commission unanimously rejected a state proposal to use herbicides in
Lake Cochituate, preferring instead to explore all non-chemical alternatives.
According to the Metro West Daily News, the five-member commission cited
compelling scientific evidence and testimony, in addition to a fear
of drinking-water contamination, as reasons for voting down the state's
plan to control aquatic weed overgrowth.
technologies out there that may work," Conservation Commission
Chairman Matthew Gardner told the Daily News, before casting his vote.
"Chemicals are a last resort. This is particularly true when we're
talking about drinking water."
The state argued the use of herbicides is the best method for neutralizing
the spread of milfoil, an aquatic weed that destroys habitat for native
plants and fish. The chemical fluridone would have been applied to Natick's
South Pond, one of three ponds comprising Lake Cochituate. The state
proposed similar plans in Wayland's Middle Pond, but not the North Pond
in Framingham because it has fewer invasive weeds.
The Daily News reported
that one of the natural alternatives to herbicides supported by the
commission is the use of weevils, which are known to feed on Eurasian
milfoil. But Gildesgame pointed out that weevils would only solve one-third
of the problem since Lake Cochituate is afflicted with three types of
milfoil. For that reason, the state is not interested in funding this
Myriam Laura Beaulne, a biologist with Clean Water Action, an environmental
advocacy group, said, "Even if they were to apply fluridone this
year...the problem's going to recur" unless other preventive measures
are taken. She said creating a buffer zone around the lake would help,
in addition to inspecting boats to ensure more milfoils aren't imported.
The state has the right to appeal the commission's ruling to the Department
of Environmental Protection.