Use of herbicides for Canandaigua Lagoon Park is OK

CANANDAIGUA – The days of much of the invasive buckthorn plant in the city’s Lagoon Park may be numbered.

City council by a vote of 8-1 Thursday night granted a waiver of its moratorium on pesticides, essentially giving OK for the volunteer removal work to be done, possibly as early as this month.

Jim Engel, owner of White Oak Nursery and having led previous disposal projects, will visit the park and apply Roundup herbicide, which contains the active ingredient glyphosate and water.

When first proposed earlier in the year, the idea met with some resistance from city council and city staff. But, after considering alternatives, this approach was accepted after those alternatives – including covering plant stumps with bags – were found to be inefficient and labor-intensive.

Councilmember Karen White, the only “no” vote Thursday, wanted to explore methods that don’t use herbicides or pesticides.

The next job would be to cut the stem at ground level and spray the herbicide onto the surface of the freshly cut stem, which is taken up by the plant.

Council member Renée Sutton called buckthorn an “ecology wrecker,” and council member Erich Dittmar said invasive species really threaten the entire ecology of the park.

“It’s very focused,” Dittmar said Thursday. “There is a minimal risk that anything else will receive the herbicide. “

Joel Freedman, a townsman and environmental activist, said the use of the herbicide can be considered “dangerous” to humans, although he would support its use if it eliminated the problem.

“There’s really no evidence of that,” Freedman said.

The work involves removing new growth and regrowth from buckthorn plants and follows work done several years ago in which several community groups and volunteers traveled to the park to remove a greater volume of species. invasive plants and plant trees.

About three-quarters of the trees survived, Engel said Thursday.

“There is a need for additional planting,” Engel said, adding that it could be another four to five years before another such treatment is needed.

The city does not pay for the work in the 34-acre wildlife preserve, open to hikers on its trails along the Canandaigua Outlet.

The Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association, Canandaigua Botanical Society and Ontario County Master Gardeners have so far raised $ 2,200 for the project.

Council member Stephen Uebbing, who said it would be a shame to see invasive species invade the park, said that is how the moratorium is supposed to work.

If an exception needs to be made, take it to city council, listen to the science and debate the issue, and ultimately decide if an exemption is needed, he said.

“This is precisely what we had in mind,” Uebbing said.

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