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Sandpoint to fight milfoil by hand

Sun., May 20, 2012

SANDPOINT – City officials in Sandpoint are declining an offer from the Idaho Department of Agriculture to apply herbicide in Lake Pend Oreille near city beaches to eradicate Eurasian milfoil.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reported that Sandpoint City Council members noted that, even though the plan wouldn’t cost the city, too many residents oppose putting herbicides in the water near where people swim.

The council voted last week to approve a management plan suggested by the Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper group that involves manually removing weeds and using large black tarps that block sunlight.

“I think this is a chance for us to be self-reliant and take responsibility for the health of the lake,” Councilman Shelby Rognstad said.

The cost of the nonherbicide plan is between $40,000 and $53,000, depending on how many volunteers sign up. The Waterkeeper group is offering at least $10,000, and another $8,000 might become available through a grant.

“I feel that this is really your opportunity to take control about how aquatic invasive weeds are managed within the city’s jurisdiction using nontoxic, sustainable approaches rather than herbicides, which is the only option that the state is willing to support at this time,” Waterkeeper Executive Director Shannon Williamson said in public comments.

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