FairPLAN supports Conservation’s Open Space management program

 

Letter-to-the-EditorNEWTo the Editor:

Fairfield has over 1,100 acres of Open Space managed by our Conservation Department. The Conservation Department recognizes the threat posed to Open Space by invasive plants and has a carefully calibrated response that includes the application of herbicides. FairPLAN supports Conservation’s Open Space management program and the use of herbicides.

Experts at UConn’s Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group warn that “Invasive plants present an increasing threat to natural communities throughout Connecticut and the United States. These non-native invaders are often referred to as a form of ‘biological pollution’ that is sweeping through natural and minimally managed landscapes. Controlling invasive plant populations is important to reduce negative impacts on these ecosystems…Use of a systemic herbicide is often necessary to achieve adequate control of troublesome invasive plants.” Fairfield recognizes the threat and uses herbicides only as necessary.

The careful use of herbicides is unavoidable. The Connecticut Association of Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commissions (CACIWC) commissioned extensive research on control of invasive plants, and their research supports Fairfield’s approach. Eradication of invasive plants in Open Space also helps prevent the spread of these plants to adjacent private properties which is an additional benefit to Town residents who would otherwise need to apply herbicides and employ other eradication methods on their property.

Using herbicides on invasive species in Fairfield’s Open Space is subject to Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) regulations administered by the DEEP Pesticide Management Program: “The main goal of the Pesticide Management Program is to prevent adverse human health or environmental effects from the misuse of pesticides.” Note that prevention of adverse effects is the top objective of this program, and any application of herbicides authorized by DEEP in Fairfield is designed to prioritize human and environmental safety.

Employing pesticides to control invasive species in Open Space is a nationally recognized strategy. Communities with impeccable records for sensitivity to ecological concerns such as Boulder County, Colorado use pesticides on 32,000 acres of Open Space and Wildlife Habitat.

Open Space is part of the fabric of Fairfield and is an essential component in the quality of life here. Our Conservation Department recognizes the importance of protecting Open Space from the threat of invasive plants while assuring the safety of people and the environment. Very limited resources are available to our Conservation staff, and they deserve our consideration and our thanks for the quality of their work.

 

FairPLAN

Alexis P. Harrison

Mary Hogue

 

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