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June 7, 2012

Our Opinion: Board made right decision

---- — We applaud the board of trustees’ decisions last week to eliminate the amount of chemical pesticides, particularly weed killers used in or near the village.

The board adopted a policy that would halt the use of chemical pesticides on village owned and maintained property as soon as possible and also approved sending a letter to the state Department of Transportation asking it to stop the spraying of weed killing chemicals along guard rails, at the base of sign posts and around culverts on state Route 80 on the western shore of Otsego Lake the village’s drinking water source.

The policy adopted by the village was aimed primarily at Doubleday Field where weeds are sprayed with Roundup on the outfield warning track and under the first base bleachers near where Willow Brook runs to Otsego Lake. A fungicide is also used on the field.

The village is already running a comparison test with an organic herbicide to replace Roundup with the intention of getting away from a dependence on chemicals.

“My hope is that by the end of the season we’ll not be using Roundup anymore,” Mayor Jeff Katz said.

The DOT’s use of chemical herbicides on the roadsides poses a threat to the lake from runoff, especially in stretches where the roadway is very close to the shore line. It creates further problems when the weeds and grass, whose roots were holding the soil and stabilizing the banks, die and are no longer there. The area can become more susceptible to erosion during rain storms and allow increased sediment to enter the lake.

We believe the board of trustees made the right decision. We would have preferred to make it an outright ban rather  than “as soon as possible,” but this is a step in the right direction.Now it is up to property owners to follow the board’s example and rid their households of the chemical weed and insect killers that pose a threat to themselves, their children and our environment.

It might also be a good opportunity to take another look at the use of turf management chemicals at the Leatherstocking Golf Course adjacent to the lake.