The Mendocino National Forest (MNF) is proposing to spray toxic chemicals on over 1,500 acres just north of Clear Lake. The North Shore project in the 2018 Ranch Fire area also includes 500 acres of post-fire logging and 1,080 acres of planting. A majority of herbicide use would be for killing all vegetation around planted trees, which is entirely unnecessary for sapling survival. Over 400 acres includes application for non-native invasive plant species, which could be treated by multiple non-toxic alternatives. The MNF has opened up another opportunity for the public to comment on this potentially heinous project.
The poisonous chemicals contained in herbicides are harmful to people, wildlife, and the environment. Even when herbicide is carefully applied, there is a potential for harm to native species through off-target drift, surface runoff, or leaching. Imazapyr, one of the herbicides proposed for use is well documented to harm amphibians and fish when it contaminates watercourses. Imazapyr has been recorded to exude out of the roots of treated plants into the surrounding soil, thus impacting surrounding plant communities. Fluazifop, has been found to stimulate pathogens in the soil while inhibiting bacteria with plant growth promoting abilities. Triclopyr BEE is also proposed. Triclopyr poses a greater risk to humans and wildlife, and has a higher chance of entering waterways than Glyphosate. Another concern is their persistence in the environment. Aminopyralid, has been well documented to have an abnormally long half-life for an herbicide with samples having a half-life lasting over 500 days. Developed in 2005 by Dow AgroSciences, aminopyralids long-term effects remain unknown.
Further, the Forest Service argues that it needs to use herbicides in order to make up for the spread of invasive species it causes while undergoing the project. First the agency fails to control invasives before they spread. Then, through fire suppression actions, seeds are knowingly distributed all over. Now it proposes to trample through the forest with logging equipment, disturbing the soil and promoting further infestation. So, the Forest Service is pushing herbicides in order to combat a problem, which it created and proposes to worsen.
Alternative 4 is the No Spray option in the Environmental Assessment. Please urge the Mendocino National Forest to consider and use non-toxic alternatives!