Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Herbicide season

Eurasian watermilfoil

Fighting invasive milfoil

The planned use of the herbicide ProcellaCOR in the region’s long fight against invasive Eurasian watermilfoil continues to grow as lake communities across the park seek permission to use the product this spring.

The Adirondack Park Agency board at its meeting next week will be considering a permit application from the Brant Lake Association to use the herbicide to treat its worst milfoil beds later this spring.

John Dunn, the lake association president, told me the goal is that the herbicide can rein in the lake’s worst infestations, leaving sparser areas for dive teams to harvest by hand.

A similar application to use the herbicide on Horseshoe Pond in the Town of Duane near the park’s northern boundary is currently up for public comment. The lake association there is also hoping for approval to use the product this May or June — the time window when invasive milfoil has emerged for the season but fewer native plants have.

The Paradox Lake Association already has an approved permit to use the herbicide this year, and the town of Caroga Lake last month submitted an application to use ProcellaCOR on both East and West Caroga lakes.

Read more here. 

Lake George

Lake George has been the center of the region’s most contentious fight over the proposed use of a chemical herbicide to combat invasive milfoil. Explorer file photo.

Fighting over the plan

While opposition to the herbicide use has appeared minimal in many corners of the park, its planned use has stirred a major fight around Lake George. That fight is headed to an appellate courtroom in Albany later this month.

On March 27, The Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the APA’s appeal of a lower court ruling that found the agency should have conducted a special adjudicatory hearing when evaluating the Lake George Park Commission’s plan to use the herbicide in a pair of bays. That judge called the APA staff’s presentation to the board “one-sided.”

The Lake George Association has stridently opposed the park commission’s plan and challenged the APA’s approval of it in court. The park commission’s director, Dave Wick, has accused the LGA of pushing concerns refuted by the science and experiences of other lakes that have used the herbicide.

Wick in a recent interview said there may still be enough time this spring to move forward with the herbicide use if the court rules for the APA and the state agency still has time to approve a Lake George permit before the end of June.

Tom West, the LGA’s attorney, said the park commission should put its herbicide plan on hold and work through the concerns of the LGA. The LGA has also submitted a new round of comments, outlining yet more concerns and signaling they plan to continue to fight the herbicide plan.

Photo at top: Eurasian watermilfoil is one of the most pervasive nuisance weed in Adirondack waters. Communities long struggling against the invasive plant are turning to an herbicide in their fight. Explorer file photo.

This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

9 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    Why would the state spend time and money on an unnecessary adjudicatory hearing? This has been used for years on lots of water bodies they have all the scientific data they need. At a hearing you are just going to get a bunch of speculation from non-scientists based on nothing factual. This country used to trust science. It does not surprise me that so many people don’t, when all they do is question it for their own personal agenda. Whether it is not trusting the science on vaccines, GMO’s, or climate change….

    • Boreas says:

      “At a hearing you are just going to get a bunch of speculation from non-scientists based on nothing factual.”

      It is my understanding the hearing is at least partly held to at least review the pertinent science and consider veracity. I would expect a hearing of this sort to depose experts in the appropriate field(s). Or am I mistaken? It isn’t a public comment session.

      • Colin says:

        What is left to adjudicate that the numerous independent (verified and reproduced) studies and millions of dollars in research and years and years of testing that led to both EPA and DEC to approve this as safe, and the successful impactless applications in Minerva and Luzerne haven’t already adjudicated? These people sound like vaccine deniers that “want to do their own research.” Just to give a platform to some scientist Protect pays to harass the Agency and the lake associations? I’m sure they can find a scientist to say what they want at a hearing if they pay them enough….. If Protect really cared about the “scientific issues” and Adirondack lakes they would have done something after Luzerne and Paradox Lake were approved. They did nothing. Do you know why? Because those lakes don’t have hundreds of millionaires living along their shores like Lake George does. Money talks for them…..

        But yes, let’s ignore all the federal and state work that went into the certification process and make the APA do a hearing……

        • Fisherking says:

          I might add milfoil in Lake George has been the topic at meetings and hearings since about 1986.
          Not all lakes are equal in the eyes of any given 501c3 my friend.

      • Paul says:

        Breas, according to the APA the hearing has 3 phases:

        From their website:

        “A public information session to receive public comments.
        A pre-hearing conference to identify parties and define issues for the hearing.
        A hearing to adjudicate disputed issues.”

        So, yes, phase 1 is a public comment period.
        So, yes, part is what you have mentioned. But I think the board has all the information they need, this isn’t a new thing.
        Then the actual hearing to adjudicate disputed issues.

        What disputed issues?

        I don’t care if they do it, in this case it just seems like a waste of time and money that can be spent on real disputed issues.

  2. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Herbicides are, generally, a quick fix. Society is all about a quick fix, about getting there yesterday, or “getting er done!” The evolutionary process of the human animal
    is such that it has influenced its rate of motion. A ‘snail’s pace’ has long since been removed from the Idiom dictionary. Herbicides are known to harm and/or devastate eco-systems and the life-forms exposed to them. There are health complications from them for humans also. This is science! There are always two sides to a coin. Almost always, accommodation will see to it which side of that coin we prefer.

    “Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.” Albert Schweitzer

    • Paul says:

      “Herbicides are known to harm and/or devastate eco-systems and the life-forms exposed to them. There are health complications from them for humans also. This is science!”

      Charlie, the science, and I suggest you review it as opposed to just making an assumption here that is incorrect. The science here specifically shows that this does NOT harm or devisitate the ecosystems, That there are NOT health complications for humans either. Beyond that it shows that NOT removing these invasives DOES harm the ecosystem.

      • Charlie Stehlin says:

        I haven’t followed up on this specific herbicide Paul, but it would seem to me that poison is poison. How do you lessen toxins in herbicides, which are not benign agents, they inhibit, they destroy, they kill. I wouldn’t want to be a little fishie, or a frog, swimming in my liquid home and at once am overwhelmed by ProcellaCOR. Would you? Would you drink the stuff? You would think we’d smarten up and not allow what’s left of our bodies of water to become havens for invasive species, or things which lessen their purity; but you know the old story…economy first! Boats first! Castles first! Us first!

        Science and the ‘two sides to a coin’ adage: Science isn’t what it used to be Paul. At one time it was gospel in this country, and then it went political. Corruption and capitalism will do that! We bend science to suit our whims as you surely know. Take the global warming concern per mere example. Scientists from one side of the fence were saying it was all a hoax, while scientist on the other side were scratching their heads in unbelief in what they were hearing from the one side. Then, as is always the case….as time moves along and things get worse, the deniers undergo a change of tone, their voices go mum, a conspicuous hush pervades the atmosphere, the presenters on their podiums change their themes………

        Unfortunately, science has become politicized, which I am not supposing is relevant to the above story, though I do remain skeptical on the matter.

  3. Charlie Stehlin says:

    “speculation from non-scientists”

    Some of us thrive on assumptions Boreas. Meanwhile the inevitable is knocking on our doors! Hearing loss and loss of eyesight has got a hold of a significant proportion of society as you very much are aware of by now surely!

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