Mississippi Mills 2019 Spraying Program Residents’ Report

Residents’ Perspectives on Issues, Outcomes and Improvements

Background & Introduction

The Mississippi Mills 2019 Wild Parsnip Management Program Staff Report has been released and is on the Agenda for the upcoming Council meeting on Tuesday, November 19th, 2019.
As a significant number of Friends of Lanark County (FOLC) reside in Mississippi Mills, we would like to comment on the report.

Report Highlights

This is cedar, not parsnip
In summary, Public Works reports is satisfied with the herbicidal spraying program for the control of wild parsnip.
• 518 lane kilometres of roadsides were boom- and spot-sprayed.
Note: Public Works determined that roads “with more than 10% parsnip” were on the boom-spray list. Residents question how this was assessed, but as we observed up to 90% of remaining flowering broadleaf plants were also killed.

• the financial cost of spraying was $23,017.06.
• the financial cost of mowing was $23,406.56.
• the overall budget was $80,000.00, $60,000.00 for parsnip.
Note: $60,000.00 = 10 summer jobs @ $14/hr., 35hrs per week, with 12 weeks (the parsnip growing season) of employment per person. No poison, no parsnip, more pollinators and healthier residents.

After 8 years of boom spraying, SD&G Counties still have parsnip and no
exit strategy from spraying
Report Highlights
After years of spraying,
only grass remains.
There is no food for pollinators, and no money to restore the road
• the report concludes that Public Works Department monitored throughout the 2019 season and has determined that the herbicidal (boom and spot) spraying program was effective in controlling the growth of the plants; however, the overall efficacy of the program at large requires evaluation over multiple years of mechanical and herbicidal treatments due to the dormancy of the plant.
Note: What we read here is that this will be a long-term plan with no end to spraying in sight. How do we measure success? Spraying kills everything but grass. Roadsides devoid of broadleaf plants is a failure.

Let’s discuss some of the other costs that are not considered in this tally.

Costs to pollinators and birds:
Roads with little or no parsnip were doused with herbicide, killing goldernrod and asters which are necessary plants to compete with the parsnip. Broadleaf plants which pollinators need were killed. Native trees and shrubs were damaged, and trees were killed. Outside contractors were negligent when they sprayed the roots of trees, cedars, fruit bearing shrubs and swaths of goldenrod. Lanark County is now having to spend money on the restoration of the roads they sprayed.

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