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Daily News Archive
From June 17, 2005

California National Forest Needs Protection from the U.S. Forest Service
(Beyond Pesticides June 17, 2005)
Your assistance is needed on a toxic forest alert! The U.S. Forest Service is proposing the most extreme spray plans in two decades for California’s National Forests, according to Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs). The agency is planning to resume a practice that they had previously ceased due to the risks of negatively impacting the natural environment.

According to CATs, these proposed projects are considered to be risky, unnecessary, and potentially precedent setting. Today, there exist numerous non-chemical options to manage forestland, ranging from hand treatments to mechanical.

The organization CATs, is calling for assistance from the public to help in their efforts to vigorously oppose the U.S. Forest Service proposals. Four of the largest projects are expected to cover a total of 40,000 acres. The U.S. Forest Service R-5 pesticide projects in California National Forests include the following:

  • Cottonwood Project- Plans for the Tahoe National Forest (NF) include the spraying of herbicides (glyphosate and triclopyr) over 13,500 acres for conifers release and weed management using ground application in fire reforestation project.
  • Lasen Project- Stanislaus NF plans to spray on approximately 10,000 acres, including aerial applications for over 1,000 acres. Ground applications are planned for the remaining acres of conifer release, vegetation control, and weed treatments in a fire restoration project.
  • Modoc Project- Modoc NF plans to use six different herbicides, on over 8,500 acres (including one 6,000 acre site) to eradicate noxious weeds. This project is open ended, expecting to last as long as funding does.
  • McNally Project- Sequoia NF plans to use herbicides, insecticides, and rodenticides on 8,000 acres (including aerial spraying) for vegetation, weed and gopher control in a fire restoration project. This area includes parts of Sequoia National Monument, a roadless area and section along the Kern River.

It is believed that spraying could begin as soon as this summer. Environmentalists are concerned that this could be the beginning of a return to large-scale pesticide use in California’s National Forests.

In joining with CATs, Beyond Pesticides encourages the U.S Forest Service to use the proven healthy sustainable solutions. Information on alternative solutions is readily available at http://www.alternatives2toxics.org/publicforests.htm.

To read about similar forest management battles and herbicide manufacturer involvement, see recent article in Pesticides and You.

TAKE ACTION: Contact U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (see SAMPLE LETTER) by email senator@boxer.senate.gov or by phone (202) 224-3553 to protest the Forest Service’s proposed plans and ask her assistance to prevent this plan from creating a new trend in the treasured forests of California. To join efforts to combat pesticide projects in California public forestlands, contact cats@alternatives2toxics.org.