Opposition grows to herbicide spraying


The Committee for Green Foothills has joined the protest over recent roadside spraying of herbicides by the California Department of Transportation.

The environmental organization, which works to preserve open spaces, farmlands, and natural resources in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, called on Caltrans in a letter to "cease the practice of broadcast spraying with herbicides" along all county highways, and "instead mow to control roadside weeds, and only if absolutely necessary, use spot spraying."

In addition, the president of the South Skyline Association, representing 1,500 households, has written to Caltrans expressing concern that "broadcast spraying of herbicides that Caltrans now employs poses a potential threat to the environment and people."

By March 28 nearly 300 people had signed a petition that says "the broadcast spraying of herbicides cover our roadside ditches, which flow into our creeks, potentially contaminating our watersheds, wells and our health. There are better ways to control vegetation."

Caltrans sprayed herbicides along state Highway 84 (Woodside/La Honda Road) on March 17 and state Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard) in January, prompting the protests.

Citing environmental and health concerns, San Mateo County in 2012 stopped broadcast spraying herbicides on county-maintained roads. At the time, Caltrans said it might do the same, but it has not done so.

The Committee for Green Foothills Committee letter, signed by Ladera's Lennie Roberts, says: "San Mateo County's natural habitats are home to over 40 endangered or threatened species. ... We all need to do everything possible to ensure that these species survive, and that human health is not compromised."

The South Skyline Association letter asks Caltrans to, at the very least, provide advance warning. "Without advanced notice at the site of spraying, bicyclists, motorcyclists, hikers, and property owners cannot make informed decisions to avoid the areas, or protect themselves from the herbicides," the letter from Michael Rowe says.

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2 people like this
Posted by Patty New
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Apr 8, 2015 at 9:45 am

I lived in Woodside's Skywood Acres neighborhood from 1979 to 2006 and it was in those earlier years when, running on trails that crossed Alambique Creek, I would see plenty of tiny (fish) fry swimming in pools. It's only in absent-minded hindsight that I realize that now there are none and have to ask myself, "When did that happen?" and "Why?"

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