The Friends of Lanark County and the National Farmers Union Local Chapter are pleased to present:


A speaking event that will interest members of the community who care about the pollinator crisis and human environmental health in general. Speakers will explore the effects and consequences of pesticide use (including roadside spraying) on human and pollinator health.

We welcome the following speakers:

Margaret (Meg) Sears Ph. D., an environmental health expert in toxins including pesticides in our environment, and

Vicki Wojcik Ph.D., an expert in new and emerging pollinator issues including the plight of our bees and the monarch butterfly.

Speaker Bios attached.

Date, Time & Place:

Thursday April 6, 2017 at 7 p.m.
McMartin House
125 Gore St.
Perth Ont.

This is a free event. Light refreshments offered.

Margaret (Meg) Sears Ph.D.

Meg is the Chair and lead scientist from Prevent Cancer Now. She was trained in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto, Canada. She worked in energy research, then returned to academia to complete doctoral research in biochemical engineering at McGill University. With skills in scientific analysis and writing, Dr. Sears gained associations with Ottawa research institutes at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Some highlights for Dr. Sears include: writing the Medical Perspective on Environmental Sensitivities for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, leading to a policy under the Canadian Human Rights Act; carrying out a scoping review on toxic elements (arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury) with Canadian Institutes for Health Research and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funding; and numerous collaborations with members of the Environmental Health Committee of the Ontario College of Family Physicians. A central interest is the conduct and interpretation of science in environmental health.

Vicki Wojcik, Ph.D.

Vicki has been working to protect and promote pollinators with Pollinator Partnership – the largest organization in the world exclusively dedicated to saving pollinators – since 2011. As Research Director she oversees P2’s research program, keeping on top of new and emerging pollinator issues and managing a program set that includes pollinator habitat conservation and landscape management assessments; understanding and enhancing agroecosystems; landuse and pesticide policy review; support for threatened and critical species; and ecosystem service assessments.Vicki joined the San Francisco team after completing her Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley. In 2015 she returned home to Toronto with the expansion of P2’s programs into Canada. Vicki’s interest in pollinators was sparked during her undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph and has continued ever since. Her graduate research focused on understanding how native bees use gardens and habitats in cities. This focus on pollinators in human-dominated landscapes has continued throughout her career. Vicki’s contributions to pollinator research and conservation include numerous peer reviewed papers, book chapters, policy pieces, planting guides, and technical manuals.

The 2017 petition is up and running!

It seems as if people couldn’t wait to sign their names at Seedy Sunday in Perth!

If you can help add names, or know of a location to circulate the petition, please contact us at: friendsoflanarkcounty@gmail.com

Sign and share the on-line petition at change.org

No-Spray Petition
To the elected Councillors of Lanark County and the Townships of Lanark Highlands,
Drummond North Elmsley, Beckwith and Montague:
Despite widespread public opposition to herbicide use, Lanark County and several of the Townships within it are making plans to spray our roadsides with toxic herbicides in 2017 in an attempt toeradicate wild parsnip.

The County and Townships are planning to use the herbicides Clearview and Truvist which destroy most or all broadleaf (i.e. non-grass) plants, including milkweed, a plant critical to the survival of the endangered monarch butterfly. Food species for local pollinators stand to be severely damaged or destroyed.

The herbicide Clearview contains aminopyralid which has been banned in other jurisdictions because of its ability to contaminate groundwater. Truvist can also leach into groundwater and contains aminocyclopyrachlor which causes tree death. Both herbicides have been implicated in lawsuits in the United Kingdom and the U.S.

Roadside pesticide applicators are not required to post signs after applying herbicides thereby increasing exposure risk for Lanark County families and their pets.

There is excellent medical evidence that pesticides can seriously affect human health, particularly in children (2012 Systematic Review of Pesticide Health Effects- Ontario College of Family Physicians,

Since an educational approach is the most effective way to prevent harm from wild parsnip, and because the herbicide use is unlikely to eradicate it, we the undersigned demand that the spraying program be cancelled for the 2017 spraying season and in perpetuity.

-On Tuesday March 7th a presentation against roadside spraying was made to Lanark Highlands council. New information about the issue was presented. Click to download the presentation.

March 22 is the next County council meeting in Perth.

Spraying to continue in 2017 – read plan

PLEASE COMMENT on the County’s new vegetation management (with herbicides!) plan.

Nov 28, 2016 — In spite of the widespread opposition, and ongoing delegations to the County – Council has confirmed that they will be moving forward in 2017 with herbicide spraying to control wild parsnip.

We believe this approach is ineffective for many reasons. Just one being that wild parsnip can not be controlled this way.

These photos, taken by Lanark County residents this past summer, show cedar trees sprayed along Bennett Lake Road.

The good news is that Council is considering adopting a new vegetation management plan that includes other methods and does not focus entirely on herbicides.

We have another opportunity to act.

On December 7th, the County council will vote on whether to implement a bylaw (!) that will commit us to a multi-year IPM Vegetation Management Plan that has herbicide spraying as an integral component, rather than a last resort.

Please read the plan, ask your questions, express your concern, opinion, opposition, whatever it might be.

There is still time to have this set aside for further review.

The County Council wants to hear from it’s residents. It is how they make decisions (we hope). Two councillors from each township or town sit on the County Council. The full list of Councillors and their emails can be found here.

To ensure your correspondence is recorded, please copy the County Clerk Leslie Drynan and Chief Admistrative Officer Kurt Greaves.

Please note, the plan this year is to use another product called Truvist. We have also learned that a highly toxic adjuvant, called Gateway is used to increase the effectiveness of ClearView and was used in 2016. See here for more info.

To read some Lanark resident’s letters and presentations made to council, see here.

Spraying, spraying, gone!

Spraying began on June 6th.

Sweet clover…gone.


Pesticide applicator trucks have been spotted in the early hours and during the day throughout the County and Drummond North Elmsley townships as spraying the roadsides to try to kill wild parsnip has begun.

A detailed schedule of when and where the trucks will be has not been made available to residents.

There are many no spray signs dotting the county and township roads as residents have opted out of the program. The Friends of the Tay, the Lanark Beekeepers, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, Little Silver and Rainbow Lakes Association and the Friends of Lanark County, have expressed concerns over the use of the herbicide Clearview which will kill all broadleaf plants and has the potential to move through soil and water and contaminate groundwater. It has been banned in Norway.

A request to the County for a delay until baseline water tests were done was denied.

There have been reports of spraying during windy and rainy days, including the spraying on County Road 43 on June 13 when the wind gusts were high. Another complaint of a mailbox and garbage can being sprayed is still being investigated.

Residents are advised to stay out of sprayed areas for 12 hrs, and watch out for drift.

Spray trucks are keeping a look out for nesting turtles along the roadsides and are required to respect the wetland buffer zones.

Sections that have been sprayed will be mowed over in about 3 weeks.
Residents who have complaints regarding the spraying can call 613-521-3450 extension 259.

Outside of Lanark County…two Stittsville organic farmers are suing the city for damages for spraying herbicide on their road beside their organic crops.

If you would like to follow our activities more closely, please see our facebook page  where there are daily updates from Lanarky County residents. If you are able to join us in our efforts, and help keep this website up to date, please email us at: friendsoflanarkcounty@gmail.com.

Lanark County in the news…

The word is getting out… The issue has been receiving more and more attention as the concerns increase and opposition is voiced. See our In the media page for all the stories, like this one from the Ottawa Citizen.

A small patch of wild parsnip, just past its flowering stage, sways in the breeze next to Parkedale Avenue on Thursday, July 30, 2015 in Brockville, Ont. Darcy Cheek/Brockville Recorder and Times/Postmedia Network

Lanark County will begin spraying wild parsnip on 750 kilometres of roadsides next week, following Ottawa and some other counties in this region but also facing vocal opposition from some Lanark residents. Ottawa Citizen, June 3, 2016.

Congratulations Tay Valley Township

We commend the approach taken by the Tay Valley Township and encourage the other townships to follow suit:

Begin forwarded message:

Subject: Tay Valley – Wild Parsnip
Date: 2 June, 2016 2:33:30 PM EDT

Wild Parsnip

Please be advised that Tay Valley Township will not be conducting a roadside spraying program to control the spread of Wild Parsnip in 2016 along Township roads and properties.

Lanark County as well as some local municipalities within Lanark County have decided to carry out a roadside spraying program beginning in late May through to the end of June, 2016. Tay Valley will continue our roadside mowing program, as in past years, along Township roads. Tay Valley will be monitoring the Wild Parsnip situation in 2016 and making note of areas of infestation so that we can make informed decisions on this issue in future years.

If you live, or own property, adjacent to a County Road then the road allowance will be sprayed under the County program unless you advise the County of Lanark you do not wish it to be sprayed. Please contact the County of Lanark at 613-267-4200 or http://www.lanarkcounty.ca/Page1875.aspx for further information on this. [our italics]

If you live, or own property, adjacent to a Township Road within Tay Valley the road allowance will not be sprayed but will be mowed as it has been in past years.

Wild Parsnip is an invasive plant that is increasingly common within Lanark County and was added to Ontario’s list of Noxious Weeds in January, 2015. The plant is most commonly found in areas such as road shoulders, roadside ditches, rail corridors, trails and uncultivated lands.

Wild Parsnip may post a health risk to humans as the plant sap may cause skin and eye irritation and make the skin prone to sever burning and blistering when exposed to the sun. The blisters typically occur one to two days after contact with the plant. In some cases, this can result in long term scarring of the skin.

The best way to avoid contact with Wild Parsnip is to become familiar with what the plant looks like and the proper handling techniques when dealing with the plant.

Information to identify and deal with Wild Parsnip is available on Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program website http://www.invadingspecies.com.

Additional information can also be obtained from the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit at www.healthunit.org/hazards/dangerousweeds.html.
Read this news update on our website

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Is a ditch, a slope?

ClearView guidelines indicate that spraying should not occur on slopes. Under “Environmental Hazards” (Commercial registration No. 29752. Pest control products act), the label says:

The use of this chemical may result in contamination of groundwater.  Avoid application to areas with a moderate to steep slope, compacted soil or clay.

We are trying to find out what constitutes a moderate slope. Are our ditches, moderate slopes? Wager and Corput – the ClearView applicators must be in compliance and follow the label directions when applying this herbicide. Please stay tuned or help us investigate.

In the meantime, please get your signs up and talk to your neighbours. Help them get their signs up too. We are finding that most people still do not know about the spraying. The most effective way to get the word out and more signs up has been by knocking on a neighbour’s door and talking about it. You can pick up signs for your neighbours so long as they have signed their form giving their consent.

And, please keep asking questions of the County. Send your sincere and polite questions to the Director of Public Works: Terry McCann. (613) 267-1353 ext. 3190. tmccann@lanarkcounty.ca and copy all Councillors. Even though it is too late for them to vote to stop the spray, they may be interested in knowing that our concern is increasing and not just going away.

The most recent Council meeting was well attended by Friends of Lanark County:

If you have time to talk to your neighbours or to help us get information on the web, make a blog post, please email us at friendsoflanarkcounty@gmail.com. We could use some more people power.


Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 25. Rally with us!

All those who care about this issue ..we need to to come out to rally this Wednesday May 25th outside the Lanark County building in Perth Ontario. Council meeting begins at 6 pm. followed by the Public works meeting, (would be begin closer to 7) where all of our communication ( your letters and our petition) will be shown on the agenda. There should be an update on our notification request.
Council brought forward a motion to reconsider last May 11th (thank you Bill Dobson and John Fenik) but did not achieve the two thirds vote needed for more discussion. According to council procedures the matter is now closed. Remember that during the last few months, 5 councillors have changed their minds about the weed spraying program.

You can see the results of this vote, including how the councillors each voted here:

Recorded Vote For Against Herbicide Spraying

Keep in mind that the motion was for reconsideration….asking to discuss the new information, but 7 councillors refused that!

Let’s come out to tell them that there are over 600 people who don’t think spraying with herbicides on our roadsides is the best solution. We have environmental rights to clean air and water. We care about our children who already are exposed to pesticides living in our rural county. We care about our pollinators. Bring your no spraying signs or make smaller ones. Bring your kids and your grandchildren.

Meeting starts at 6pm. The Lanark county office is located at 99 Christie Lake Road.

Lanark Highlands votes FOR spraying

from Sonia Cirka:

This last Tuesday amidst a full house of concerned residents, Lanark Highlands township voted unanimously to vote for roadside spraying, despite the delegations by from two medical doctors Dr. Coombs MD and Linda Harvey MD asking them not to do so. Both local doctors, who are also landowners and farmers, voiced concerns about the problems of roadside spraying on human and ecological health and provided documentation from their research. A third speaker was disallowed even though there was time permitted , to present how roadside spraying would negatively impact beekeepers and pollinators.
The crowd became agitated as there was no opportunity for them to speak on this issue. Mayor Brian Stewart cautioned the residents to be more respectful. A petition signed by as many as 300 residents was not acknowledged during the meeting or included as communication. There were no residents to speaking for the roadside spraying, but Dr. Paula Stewart who was allowed a 20 minute presentation, assured the council that the herbicide Clearview was the only answer to combat wild parsnip, an idea that many locals disagree with. With spraying to commence in a few weeks, and with opposition growing in the community, the residents only option is to put up No spraying signs on their properties.