This world getting crazier by the minute with Trump, Brexit and other seemingly irrational events, but it still causes great surprise to us here at the Examiner when we find ourselves in substantial agreement with someone like Uri Driscoll. Although he still supports invasive beach grass, Uri gets the rest of it right in his my word:
(From the July 9, 2016 Time Standard My Word)
Addiction to poisonous herbicides spreading to dunes
By Uri Driscoll
Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. The World Health Organization lists it as “probably carcinogenic.” Now, not only is it included in your bowl of Shredded Wheat, according to the Organic Consumers Association — it is coming to the dunes near you.
As part of a Climate Ready project at Lanphere dunes Eric Nelson from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decided that because of “insufficient ammophila mortality” they would spread a glyphosate/imazapyr cocktail on a section of dunes they are supposed to be studying. There was no public notice nor was this a part of the original proposal presented to the public by Friends of the Dunes and FWS last year.
Many people use glyphosate (Roundup) on their fence lines, driveways, etc. The concentration for the over the counter product is 2 percent. Beachgrass is so tough it requires the highest concentration (8 percent) of any plant on the manufacturers list.
Adding imazaphyr makes sure the deadly effects are continuous for up to a year and a half. All of the fragile native dune plants growing in among the beachgrass are killed off for that long as well.
It is not only the FWS that is developing an addiction to herbicides. State Parks, even after a court ruling against a similar project, is trying to slip by the public the spraying of 323 acres at Tolowa dunes, according to Californians for Alternatives to Toxics; Point Reyes National Seashore has plans to poison 600 acres. The projects would continue with this same non-selective herbicide combination for at least three years. It should be noted that the imazaphyr label does not recommend mixing it with glyphosate and very few safety studies have been conducted on this particular combination.
It is interesting to me that coastal land management has made such a radical shift from protecting dune integrity, dune plants, wetlands and wildlife by carefully and manually removing specific plants and have moved so easily into a chemically laden, scorched Earth approach. Monsanto must be happy. The critters and plants on the dunes, not so much.
Obviously there has been a significant downturn in public interest to volunteer digging out targeted coastal plants for a host of reasons. “Bulldozing the dunes” projects are problematic in their own right and require those pesky Coastal Development Permits and public input. Manual labor is expensive and time-consuming. Of course, there is a good argument to be made that despite all these efforts and millions spent we are not making much eradication headway anyway. With all that considered it is no wonder the coastal land managers who are still so obsessed with killing non-native, albeit naturalized vegetation, are reaching for the chemical warfare option.
Even if we decided to ignore all relevant studies and observations so we could pretend that we must remove all non-native plants from coastal areas immediately, how could we do that? Could it even be done? Manual digging?
No way, too hard and time consuming. Bulldozers? Too problematic and disturbing on a lot of levels. Burning? That actually stimulates beachgrass growth. Poisons? Bingo! All we need to do is care so little about the rest of the life on the dunes and the health of our kids and pets and we will allow that to happen. Scorched earth be damned.