Grand Lake rejects plea to ban pesticides | SkyHiNews.com

Grand Lake rejects plea to ban pesticides

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

Armed with an arsenal of research, Grand Lake citizen Lenny Brooks continued his environmental crusade against pesticides at Grand Lake’s Monday town board workshop.

Brooks, like a growing number of Grand Lake citizens, is opposed to the continued use of tree sprays meant to protect lodgepole pines from their nemesis, the mountain pine beetle.

Targeting the chemicals Permiethrin and Carbaryl, the chemicals that fall under brand names and the most widely used in the area, Brooks called for a ban.

But after leafing through copies of his research, including a 98-signature petition supporting a non-toxic substitution to the chemical Carbaryl, case studies of other communities’ efforts to protect watersheds from pesticide pollution and page after page of EPA information and warning data about the chemicals, the town board refrained from taking an official stance.

Working against Brooks is the fact that the chemicals are Environmental Protection Agency-approved, and Grand Lake Town Manager Shane Hale said it would be a long stretch denying citizens’ use of chemicals that have the federal government’s OK.

Brooks stated that history has proved the EPA is not always correct in its acceptance of chemicals.

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“The EPA says it’s good. They also said DDT was good for a long time too, before they banned it,” he said.

Although no real data exists to support it, Grand Lake’s watersheds are affected by the use of tree sprays and fertilizers along the lakes, Brooks said, due to shoreline homeowners using those chemicals.

Carbaryl is still the chemical of choice for the U.S. Forest Service, according to Rick Caissie of the Sulphur Ranger District who attended the meeting. In spraying near water, foresters abide to a 30-foot buffer between shore and spray, he said, and to protect those high value trees, they spray trees 5 inches in diameter or larger, up to 35 feet high. Even so, area foresters are seeing beetles entering trees above 35 feet, Caissie said.

“We follow directions from the regional office,” he said. “They tell us what chemicals are appropriate for use.”

Licensed tree sprayer Larry Malouff stated the toxicity of the product greatly depends on the dilution of the chemical, just as liquid chlorine can range from highly toxic to swimming-pool and drinking-water safe.

He cautioned the town from banning chemicals without knowing the beneficial use of them, especially for the future ” warning of a possible onset of a strain of the mosquito-carried West Nile Virus, if moisture levels increase.

“Would the town then be opposed to foggers (an insecticide)?” he asked.

Coincidentally, a community forum and free presentation regarding mountain pine beetle control, called “The Truth About Pesticides,” is scheduled to take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday at the Middle Park High School Auditorium.

According to Malouff, John Scott from the Colorado Department of Agriculture, which oversees pesticides licensing in Colorado and is the sounding board for violations, will be present to provide information.

Paddlers benefit with new town dock

With the help of a local business, Grand Lake approved a non-motorized dock Monday for those who prefer paddling to throttling.

Grand Lake Sports owners John Erickson and Cindy Henderson pledged $6,000 to steer the town toward purchasing and installing boat docks better suited for kayakers and canoers, away from the busy town marina and town pier.

Board members approved a total $12,000, including Grand Lake Sports’ matching funds, on materials, a handrail, signage and installation. The non-motorized boat dock is slated to be installed this spring, east of the town gazebo near the volleyball courts.

Down payment program takes off

Grand Lake’s down payment assistance dry spell over.

For a program that was never utilized since its genesis five years ago, Grand Lake’s down payment assistance program has seen some action of late.

Two weeks ago, an applicant satisfied the program’s requirements and was granted a $10,000 mortgage down payment loan from the town.

Now, just two weeks later, another applicant has qualified, and the town approved its second down payment assistance expenditure of $10,000 “to help a local enter the ranks of homeowner,” according to town manager Shane Hale. The recipient qualified for a 3 percent interest loan, payable over the next 20 years, which would net the town $3,310 upon maturity.

The town had budgeted $20,000 under “Attainable Housing Expenses” and found this use of the money appropriate. But since these funds are now expended, Hale said, it is unlikely there will be another down payment assistance expenditure in 2008.

Fees forgiven

Grand Lake gave a break to the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre as it enters its development process to build a new theater in town. Upon a request from RMRT that development fees be waived, the town voted to dismiss its initial fees up to $2,000.

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