For over a year, I have been part of a city ad hoc committee to study the use of herbicide spraying along our city right of ways. The committee was created as a result of some public concern for the practice of roadside spraying to kill weeds that damage city streets and sidewalks.
As a result of the committee’s work, the city council will consider a new city herbicide policy and an opt-out registry for those who do not want spraying to happen in front of their property.
I realize that some residents thought a citywide ban on herbicide spraying in the right of way was preferable, and I do not necessarily disagree, but I think this is a good first step in the right direction by creating an opt-out program. It will help gauge public concern and create a new level of awareness. Also, it is my understanding that the city will continue to consider other alternatives for weed control, especially in our residential neighborhoods. I believe the city can build upon this recommendation.
Here is a copy of the draft policy:
Purpose: To ensure the City’s infrastructure and it Right of Ways (ROW) are adequately maintained with respect to form and function and provide an environment that protects the safety, health and welfare of the citizenry, the city will utilize various means as identified, recommended and statutorily approved by the Legislature and regulated thru the State’s Board of Pesticides Control to maintain the City’s flora and fauna.
Compliance with State Laws:
The City of Augusta shall comply with all applicable state laws, label directions and corresponding regulations as promulgated by the State of Maine, Board of Pesticide Control in carrying out the City’s herbicide treatment programs. As developed by the State of Maine, Board of Pesticides Control the City will utilize Best Management Practices (BMP) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs in the management and care of the City’s roadsides and green space. For additional information regarding the State’s BMP and IPM go to: http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/pesticides/index.htm and or http://www.maine.gov/agriculture/pesticides/schoolipm/
Herbicide and other pesticides applications will be performed seasonally based upon State of Maine, Board of Pesticides Control Best Management Practices or as the need arises in specific situations.
Opt-Out Registry For Right of Way Herbicide Treatment:
Residents and businesses of the City of Augusta may opt-out of the Right of Way treatment program should they chose not to have the weeds treated chemically in front of their property. The city registry would be in addition to the State of Maine opt-out registry program and does not supersede the State registry program. Some individuals may have to register with both the City and State Opt-Out Registry program. Properties that are tenant occupied either in single or multi-dwelling units are required to have the landlord who is the owner of record make application for the Opt-out program. Those who opt-out will be required to remove the weeds located in the City’s Right-Of-Way (ROW) in front of the property they have requested not be treated. If a chemical either natural or synthetic is to be used, the application shall be done by a duly licensed applicator registered and licensed to do so in the State of Maine through the State’s Board of Pesticides Control. Otherwise, mechanical means are required to remove weeds by the abutting property owner. Failure to remove the weeds may result in the City sending in staff to remove the weeds. The registrant will be notified in writing of the weed control deficiency and shall be given ten business days to remove the weeds. If the weeds are not removed in the time frame stipulated, the City shall remove the weeds mechanically and invoice the opt-out registrant $50.00 for the first 100 feet of ROW and $1.00 for each lineal foot of the registrant’s propertylength thereafter. The criteria by which the City will measure non-compliance are: if weeds in the ROW as of August 1st in front of the Opt-Out registrant’s property are more evident as compared to abutting property weeds in the City’s ROW. The non-compliance shall be digitally documented by the city taking photographs.
As dictated and prescribed by Maine State law and regulations, the City will notify the residents and business of the City of Augusta when herbicide treatments will be done. Additional notifications will be made thru the City’s website, local access TV channel and other means the city may deem appropriate to notify the community when herbicide treatments will be done.