Letters Herbicides a danger to all life, not just plants

Feb 09, 2018
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Herbicides a danger

to all life, not just plants

The latest issue of the Lake Worth Drainage District “Reflections” (aka the LWDD newsletter) had a discussion on “Controlling Aquatic Plants.” What I have to say here concerns not only the LWDD but all drainage and water control districts.

The use of herbicides, which are ecotoxins, should be used as little as possible, as they do get into groundwater/aquifers. Most of today’s herbicides have been designed to degrade faster than the previously used chlorinated hydrocarbons but they are still foreign to all life forms — you and me included.

The LWDD should be congratulated for stating the following:

“The District is increasing its efforts to mechanically remove aquatic vegetation and reduce the need to utilize herbicides in our maintenance practices. Mechanical removal includes the use of containment booms which are floating ribbon-like structures that span the canal and extend approximately one foot both above and below the water’s surface.”

Physical removal of surface aquatic vegetation is an excellent environmental/ecological choice on two fronts.

First, as given above, it avoids the use of the ecotoxic herbicides. Second, the vegetation that is removed carries with it a lot of the plant nutrients, notably nitrogen and phosphorus, that made these plants bloom in the first place. Thus, the nutrients (aka fertilizers) are removed as well.

When the plants are killed with herbicides, they drop to the bottom of the water, decay and release the nutrients back into the water to start the process anew. Additionally, the bacteria that are decomposing this plant material use a lot of oxygen and can generate anoxic conditions and even fish kills. Removed plant material can be used as a soil amendment adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil in farming, nurseries and gardening areas.

Therefore, think about the whole environment and, in this case, remove and use the masses of surface aquatic vegetation.


Editor’s note: William Louda is a research professor at the Environmental Biogeochemistry Group, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Environmental Sciences Program at Florida Atlantic University.

Why is disaster-prone

exit still in operation?

In reporting a fatal accident at an I-95 exit in Tuesday’s Post, the article pointed out that there have been 151 crashes since 2011 at that location — three fatal and 62 involving injuries. To my knowledge, that exit is still operative. Why?

This is why many folks refer to this state as “Flori-duh.”


Those sign ‘trolls’ are

volunteers with PBSO

Regarding the letter, “Sign trolls afoot on Northlake Blvd.” (Tuesday), regarding so-called “trolls”:

I happen to be one of those “trolls.” Those so-called trolls are actually volunteers with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department. We participate in a program known as Citizens On Patrol (COPS). We volunteer our time and efforts to help the communities we live in. We also patrol county parks and shopping centers.

Among our duties is the removal of what we refer to as “snipe signs.” You should know that the majority of the volunteers are in their mid-70s to late 80s. So you should realize that signs out of our reach are exactly that, out of our reach. We do not carry ladders. Sometimes the best we can do is to make the sign useless by cutting or blocking out the portion that has contact information.

Our program is always looking for additional volunteers. Maybe the letter-writer can join us and show us a more efficient way to do this bothersome task.