Crews Remove Weeds to Stop Pesticide Use
October 6, 2010
By Susan Gager
BLACHLY, Ore. — Several groups disagree with the Bureau of Land Management’s use of pesticides to control Oregon’s weed problem.
One of them, the Oregon Toxics Alliance, set out Wednesday to do something about it.
Partnering with ODOT, members hit the road to knock out invasive species the old fashioned way.
For most people, pulling weeds is the last thing they want to spend their free time doing.
“We’re basically just clipping flowers and seed heads so they’re not reproducing,” said Yotokko Kilpatrick, Walama Restoration Project Operational Director.
But for crew from the Walama Restoration Project, clipping the knapweed is better than the alternative, which could be more common now that Oregon is expanding the list of pesticides that can be used across the state.
They say that move will only hurt the people who live around it as well as the wildlife.
“Certain folks have a chemical sensitivity in the community. We also have salmon fisheries out here as well, so this is a non-toxic approach,” Kilpatrick said.
The Oregon Toxics Alliance partnered with ODOT on an eight-mile stretch of land in Blachly.
“We’re hoping this will be a model for more green rural economic development,” said Lisa Arkin, Oregon Toxics Alliance.
It’s a pilot project for now. Arkin says ODOT kicked off the project with the promise to reduce its use of pesticides by 60 percent along Highway 36, and at the same put people back to work.
“We’re hoping to employ people who had jobs in natural resource areas perhaps as loggers and fisherman who can’t find work,” Arkin said.
The Oregon Toxics Alliance is seeking funds to expand the project and employ more Oregon residents.