City of Hague opposes use of herbicides in Lake George

HAGUE, NY (NEWS10) – Two bays of Lake George – located along the west side of the lake in the town of Hague – have received unwanted visitors. Eurasian watermilfoil, an invasive plant, has found its way into the lake. Last week a solution was approved to deal with the foreign factory – but some are not happy with it.

On Thursday evening, the Adirondack Park Commission approved the use of ProcellaCOR EC, an herbicide never before used on Lake George, to eliminate the watermilfoil problem seen in approximately 7.6 acres of shoreline leading to Lake George. A permit has been granted to the Lake George Park Commission to use the herbicide, which has already been used in the Adirondacks Park – at Lake Minerva in 2020. But that’s not comforting enough for many shoreline residents. of the lake that live near the pair of bays In the question.

“We don’t think that’s the way to go on the lake,” Deputy Hague Supervisor Steve Ramant said Tuesday. “When you put chemicals in drinking water, there’s always a risk.”

Ramant’s name was one of five to vote on a recent City of Hague resolution directly opposing the use of ProcellaCOR EC in Blairs Bay and Sheep Meadow Bay. The vote was a unanimous 5-0 for city council members, who say the relatively new herbicide has not been studied enough for its potential effects and dangers to be properly understood. This variable is too important for the city, where the majority of the inhabitants have water points linked to the state of the water in the lake.

ProcellaCOR EC has been approved for use in New York State since 2019. In a statement to NEWS10 last month, the APA said the herbicide is classified as “practically nontoxic to fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, which is the lowest toxic value that can be assigned by the federal agency. At Thursday’s meeting, voters cited existing approvals and classifications as the reason they felt comfortable using the herbicide in Lake George.

The APA vote was part of a lengthy meeting Thursday, which Ramant attended via Zoom and spoke out against the herbicide. He is not the only one. Hundreds of letters have been sent by residents of The Hague to the APA, echoing Ramant’s concerns about drinking water. They also discussed the time it would take for the herbicide to break down once in the lake, its toxicity, and the possibility that Eurasian watermilfoil — or other weeds — could develop strains that are resistant to the herbicide. .

At Thursday’s meeting, the APA said 188 letters were received and reviewed as part of a public comment period. Ginger Henry Kuenzel, a resident of The Hague, puts the number closer to 300.

“There were a lot of things I was concerned about, when I did some reading on (ProcellaCOR EC),” Kuenzel said. “They say if cattle drink it, they can pass it on to the wrong pants. If livestock aren’t supposed to drink water treated with this, why should humans drink it? »

The Lake George Association, a group that works in the stewardship and conservation of Lake George, has expressed its own concerns. In a statement to NEWS10 for a previous story, staff said good news from herbicide testing sites like Minerva Lake was not enough to quell concerns.

“The LGA has serious concerns about the use of ProcellaCOR, or any herbicide or chemical agent, as a test against watermilfoil until much more extensive scientific research is carried out to determine the immediate residual impact and to lake chemistry and integrated food web.” said LGA President Jeff Killeen and Vice President Peter Menzies. “We have begun working with the Lake George Park Commission to address our concerns and focus on priority research recommendations to ensure informed decisions are made to achieve the strongest possible protection of Lake George.”

Ramant wasn’t ready to talk about any other action Hague might take against the use of the herbicide, but Thursday isn’t quite the end. The eventual use of ProcellaCOR EC will be in the hands of the Lake George Park Commission. The commission treated it as “a tool in the toolbox”, rather than the only answer to Eurasian watermilfoil eradication, and will hold its own vote next Tuesday, April 26, on whether (and with what a liberality) it will actually be used. .

The herbicide would replace or complement the more traditional method of suction harvesting, where divers pull invasive plants by the root in order to remove them. Research presented to the APA by the Lake George Park Commission shows that bay plants have resisted this method in the past. If the procedure continues, the use of procellaCOR EC could start in June.

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