Letter to the Editor: Stop herbicide use in Lake Forest Park

Sunday, November 28, 2021

To the Editor:

Last August, Lake Forest Park residents were concerned to see that the city contracted the use of herbicides Roundup and Garlon 4 along Perkins way — including along salmon-bearing McAleer Creek. Herbicidal removal of invasive species constituted phase one of the Perkins Way project while phase two involves native plantings in spring 2022. Unfortunately, this use of herbicides is counterproductive to the goal of native restoration along Perkins Way.

Herbicides can unbalance bacterial and microorganism populations that are crucial for healthy soil. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is an antibiotic that eradicates the soil bacteria that fix atmospheric nitrogen and microorganisms that suppress soil-borne plant pathogens. An ENDS report in 1991 even showed that spray drift from target sites can decrease tree hardiness, particularly during winter. Use of herbicides might make space for native plants, but it leaves behind a lower quality environment.

Many have expressed concern that this work was done adjacent to a salmon-bearing stream, with good reason. Negative effects of glyphosate extend far beyond where it has been directly sprayed. A 2011 study in Pesticide Management Science found that glyphosate is detected in surrounding surface and groundwater nearly anywhere it is used due to contaminated runoff. Multiple studies have shown that herbicides, including Roundup, are detrimental to salmonids. In addition to causing neurological impairment, glyphosate negatively impacts aquatic invertebrates, reducing food sources for resident salmonids. Again, while herbicides may seem like an effective option now, they impair the ecosystem in the long run.

Herbicide use along Perkins Way, or anywhere in our city, is counterproductive to the goal of a thriving, native ecosystem. Manual removal, while more time consuming, aligns far better with this goal. To express concerns about herbicide use in Lake Forest Park, email project manager Andrew Silvia at asilvia@ci.lake-forest-park.wa.us.

Thalia Jensen
Lake Forest Park


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