Residents oppose herbicide use

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — The residents of Casco love the native plants that grow here, and are wary of the spread of invasive weeds.

Equally, Casco residents are worried how the weeds will be battled, and what impacts herbicides might have on the water quality.

Both groups are conservationists.

The Casco Board of Selectmen made it publicly known it would investigate alternative methods for killing invasive weeds, especially near bodies of water and sensitive wetlands.

Resident Trevor Tidd spoke against the use of herbicides during the selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday evening.

He was referring to the town’s allocation of $2,500 to hire a firm to get rid of the Japanese Knotweed, which has taken a stronghold in some areas of the village.

Tidd said he would hate to see herbicides used near the water. He advocated for using community service, volunteers getting together to remove weeds without chemicals.

“There have been concerns about use of herbicides near the lake,” Chairman Holly Hancock said. “No one (has been hired) yet.

The board would like to hear more about how to manage those invasive species without spraying.

Casco Town Manager Dave Morton said he met with Conservation Committee member and, they agreed that “we wouldn’t do any spraying near water sources.”

“I haven’t had feedback from the company. The conservation committee was doing the investigation with the company,” he said.

“I understand and share his (Tidd’s) concern about herbicides. When I came here, it was common practice to spray herbicides on all the road sides,” he said. “I encouraged the board to do no spraying, and only mechanical cutting.”

Recently, the conservation committee “agreed it wasn’t a good idea to consider spraying near the water without a public discussion.”

Plummer agreed with the public involvement component.

“One thing to pay attention to, wherever we consider it, we are going to have neighbors,” Plummer said. “We should look at all the options for weed removal.”

Hancock concurred, “I think pursuing alternatives is a great idea.”

Plummer spoke to the connection between invasive species like the Japanese knotweed and open shorelines.

“As a I drive around, I see it by Webbs Mills — another body of water that it likes to grow near,” he said.

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