The danger to humans from these chemicals was completely disregarded in the draft analysis. The FWS simply claims that there is no expected exposure to the general public. The Scott River, a large tributary to the Klamath River, supports a variety of anadromous fish, including the federally listed Coho salmon, as well as Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, and the Pacific lamprey. Herbicides would also affect amphibians, birds, bees, and mammals. The FWS dismisses any effect to fish and wildlife as insignificant.
There are other treatment options for this invasive non-native plant, including manual methods such as tarping, hand pulling and digging, as well as biological controls (insects). EPIC believes that control of Leafy spurge will require a well-planned program with consistent and careful follow through. Short and long term noxious weed management planning is needed by the private, county, state, and/or federal government if effective control of Leafy spurge and other Class “A” species of noxious weeds in the Klamath River, Scott River, Quartz Valley tributaries, and adjacent areas is to be achieved.
The use of toxic herbicides – especially near water – presents an unacceptable health risk to those people who live near or recreate on wild and scenic rivers, and who use National Forest lands. Given the level of controversy surrounding these chemicals, and the potential of significant effects to Threatened and Endangered fish species, as well as to human health and safety, further environmental review is clearly in order for this project proposal. Consultation with NMFS and Native Tribes must be initiated and documented. At the core of this issue, EPIC asks that the FWS adopt a non-toxic approach to control/eradication of non-native plants.