Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley
Mississippi River at Pakenham

herbicide

MVFN Opposes Roadside Spraying to Control Wild Parsnip

MVFN has written a letter of concern to Lanark County, expressing our opposition to their plans to carry out herbicide spraying in 2017 of approximately 350 km of roadsides along County (and Township) roads, in an effort to control the presence and spread of wild parsnip, as well as other noxious weeds.  This letter follows from a similar letter sent in 2016.  A map and table showing the roads where spraying is planned or has been completed can be found on the Lanark County web site at http://www.lanarkcounty.ca/Page1875.aspx.

MVFN is concerned that spraying, particularly boom spraying, of a general herbicide (Clearview) to control wild parsnip will detrimentally affect many other species of flowering plants that provide food for insects and birds.  We also feel that, even with careful application, there is a risk of the herbicide entering streams and wetlands where it is known to be highly toxic to aquatic organisms.  An active ingredient of Clearview (aminopyralid potassium) cannot be considered readily biodegradable and so may persist in the environment and transport into groundwater.

MVFN is of the opinion that the County should focus its efforts on wild parsnip control through non-chemical means, particularly mowing at appropriate times of the year, and carry out a more comprehensive public information campaign that will lead to risk reduction through education.  No matter the scale of our efforts, wild parsnip, like poison ivy, will always be with us and we should deal with its presence through education and mechanical control, not through the widespread application of herbicides.

To learn more about wild parsnip, and how property owners can control it, please go to this Mississippi Mills link:

http://www.mississippimills.ca/en/news/index.aspx?newsid=ea222f68-22bb-4b3e-857a-3bfe39d4a2ed

Here is the MVFN Letter of Concern that was sent to all Lanark County Councillors: MVFN-letter-to-LC-spraying-2017.pdf

Photos below are of wild parsnip plants at various stages of development. Learn to recognize the plants and avoid them.

Wild Parsnip before flowering. Almonte, June 17, 2017

Wild Parsnip rosette without flowering stalk: Almonte, June 17, 2017

Wild Parsnip, June 17, 2017 some plants are beginning to flower

Wild Parsnip, June 17, 2017, Almonte:  some plants are beginning to send up flower stalks

Wild Parsnip, Almonte June 17, 2017 some plants also have begun to flower

Wild Parsnip, Almonte June 17, 2017:  other wild parsnip plants are already in early flowering stage

Wild Parsnip. photo Drew Monkman

Wild Parsnip. photo Drew Monkman

 

Wild Parsnip along roadside post-spraying, July 2016, March Road. Unsprayed plants are visible at fence line.

Wild Parsnip along roadside,  after spraying, July 2016, March Road. Sprayed plants and unsprayed plants (greener wild parsnip at the fence line) are visible in the photo.

WildParsnip

Lanark County herbicide spraying not necessarily a good idea

A group of local people, including some MVFN members (and maybe you too!)  have a lot of questions about the decision of  Lanark County to begin a herbicide spraying program. The County has posted notice that it will begin or has begun spraying county roads (not all roads and not all municipalities within the County have yet been scheduled for spraying) with the herbicide ‘Clearview’ (active ingredient Aminopyralid) in order to stop the spread of the invasive plant, the wild parsnip.

The group is investigating the justification for spraying and the protocol of the ‘trial’ program, with a view to asking the County and local municipal councils within the County to look for alternatives to such a broad-stroked killing of plants and to encourage local governments to better educate the public about wild parsnip.

One problem with this practice is that all virtually all plants are likely to be affected with the exception of grasses. This includes milkweed which has become a common sight in ditches in the area. Milkweed was recently removed from the noxious plant list in Ontario and is the sole food plant of the larvae of the Monarch butterfly, which is a species listed of special concern on the Species at Risk list risk in Ontario. Also at risk are the many other invasive and native ‘weeds’ which are food and nectar sources for many insects during the summer.

To address human health concerns of the herbicide the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit has posted a notice of a meeting tomorrow night in Perth: see the meeting details below.  If you can go to this meeting and relay your comments back via MVFN it would be appreciated. Ask them how many cases of wild parsnip they have treated. How much has the county spent on education?  If you have comments and questions for your local council or municipal staff about this practice, which may be taking place in your municipality now or in the coming years, we encourage you to please contact them.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING: The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit is hosting a public meeting on Wednesday, July 8 at 6 p.m. to discuss the public health perspective of the controlled spraying of Clearview in Lanark County. The meeting will be chaired by Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paula Stewart at the Lanark County Administration Building in Perth (99 Christie Lake Rd.). The purpose of the meeting is for the health unit to respond to some public concerns regarding the weed-spraying program. It will consist of a welcome and introductions, a review of the purpose of the meeting and an overview of the public health perspective on the importance of controlling noxious weeds and the Public Health Officer report on the health impacts of the herbicide. It will also include an overview of the Health Canada and Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change role, including approval of product with restrictions and MOECC response to any environmental concerns raised by community. For more information, visithttp://www.healthunit.org/

The Messenger

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