Peak & Prairie
April / May 1998
U.S. Forest Service to Spray Herbicides in Colorado
by Gunda Starkey
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is trying to decide how to control noxious weeds on 5000 acres of Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forest and Pawnee National Grassland that are currently infested. By the year 2000, the affected acreage is expected to triple. The area falls roughly within the boundaries of I-70 to the south, the Wyoming border to the north and highway 36 to the east. A draft of the Environmental Assessment will be available for public review and comment by mid to late April and a Decision Notice is expected by the end of June. While the USFS is not considering the aerial application of herbicides, they are considering a variety of ground-based herbicide application methods including tractors, trucks, ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), horses and backpack sprayers. Coloradoans for Alternatives to Toxics (CAT) has been trying to educate the USFS on the human health and environmental risks associated with the use of herbicides, and more specifically the dangers that herbicides pose to the chemically sensitive. A few of the suggestions that we have made to them include:
Focus on prevention (educate landowners on nonchemical alternatives; reseed disturbed areas; stop the spread of weed seeds by road maintenance crews).
Fully utilize all appropriate nonchemical methods (actually recruit volunteers to hand pull, release beneficial insects, etc., enlist the help of integrated pest management experts; allow nonchemical methods time to become established).
Use herbicides on a last resort basis only.
If using herbicides, avoid broadcast applications; provide very generous buffer zones for water, wildlife and residential areas; provide pre and post notification for the public via newspapers, telephone hotlines and posted on site notices; and accommodate those with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) (two week pre-notification, 2-3 mile buffer zones for MCS homes).
As other forest service plans come for review, the noxious weed issue will be included and needs to be addressed in a similar fashion. Comments go to Peter L. Clark, USFS, attn: Noxious Weed NEPA, 240 Prospect, Ft. Collins, CO 80526-2098.
Reprinted from the Jan/Feb 1998 issue of Rocky Mountain Environmental
Health Association Newsletter.
Comments Needed On Herbicide Use
Send comments on the Arapahoe and Roosevelt Forests to Peter L. Clark,
USFS, Attn: Noxious Weed NEPA, 240 Prospect, Ft. Collins, CO 80526-2098. Call John Bustos
at (970) 498-1357 with questions. For the other forest Service and other BLM administered
lands, address comments to USFS, Attn: Noxious Weed Coordinator, 1950 Valley Drive,
Pueblo, CO 81008. Call Larry Klock at (719) 545-8737 for further information.