By Tom Bender
ODF: All [aerial spray] operations are notified through E-Notifications for State Forest after a long term planning process. Oregon Department of Forestry utilizes an electronic Notification of Operations (E-Notifications or FERNS) system. Anyone can become a Subscriber at no cost and will receive notices of all forest operations for their area of interest .http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/working/pages/ENotification.aspx
REALITY: This only lets you know an area will be sprayed during a six month time window. No notification happens through FERNS when the spraying is ACTUALLY to happen.
ODF: During the operations, roads and all access points are blocked for safety of the public, employees and operators. The road closures are signed and physically blocked during applications. No applications take place over campgrounds, dispersed campsites or hiking trails. Streams are buffered during harvest with reserve trees and spraying does not occur over those buffers or over any water.
“ODF does not spray over the top of campsites or campgrounds or hiking trails.
REALITY: Sounds good, but clearly doesn’t always happen. When aerial spraying occurred last summer on the back side of Neahkahnie, just above the 101 Curved Bridge, the Oregon Coast Trail up the back side of Neahkahnie was NOT closed, and had NO notification, in spite of concerted community requests. NO notification to thousands of visitors to Short Sand Beach. The spray drifted down on both of the Short Sand Beach parking lots with enough intensity when I was there that it almost made me throw up. Aerial drift, and impacts in the creek waters unquestionably moved on down to Short Sands Beach.
With a solar eclipse in this spraying time limit, and huge numbers of people expected to be trying to find places to see, this seems particularly inappropriate.
“Streams are buffered” by totally ineffective undersized vegetation buffers. Air moves. Drift of the poisonous aerial spray HAPPENS, ALWAYS! Ask the people in Wheeler, where the area’s only skilled-nursing center (OUTSIDE the spray area) was thrown into chaos because they couldn’t turn off their HVAC system which sucked the poison chemicals into patient’s rooms. Ask a chemically-sensitive friend who made it to the doctors’ office in Wheeler, only to collapse in spasms on the floor.
ODF: There has been a great deal of mis-information about what chemicals are sprayed and in particular about the “mixing” of herbicides. ODF must follow all herbicide application rules, as follows:
·All labels are followed. The label states which chemicals can be mixed for application then the chemicals are mixed with water.
* ODF does NOT do the spraying.
* They contract with commercial firms, who have been fined, shut down, and otherwise acted against for their flagrant disregard of rules. In Coos County, they sprayed and poisoned 45 people IN THEIR HOMES by aerial spraying OUTSIDE of forest limits.
* ODF has no proof that “All labels are followed.” by such applicators. Evidence and videos submitted by former employees of such firms show disregard of those rules, mixing of new spray mixes with what remains of other chemicals from previous spraying in the helicopter spray tanks, etc.
* Those “labels” are created by the chemical manufacturers. I doubt the wisdom of “following” those rules. Recent Freedom-of-Information documents from EPA, and other studies show that the carcinogenic hazard of 8 out of 9 Roundup products are up to 1000 TIMES more toxic than claimed. Monsanto labeled many of the active ingredients as “inert”. Similarly “inert” elements of a spray may be “adherents” – chemicals that make the poisons adhere longer to your lungs, eyes, and skin, increasing their hazard. The FOI documents, and other recent releases show that EPA collaborated with Monsanto to cover up the hazards of their pesticides for 30 years. I’ve seen no evidence that ODF has sought updates on the actual hazards of the products they allow.
ODF: Target species are usually brush like Salmonberry or elderberry and woody plants such as vine maple that compete for growing space with the trees.
REALITY: Interesting. Most ODF info I have says the target species are alders and scotch broom, both of which are nitrogenous (providing nitrogen to the soil to make desired plants grow, in our wet climate that washes nitrogen downstream). Regardless, what really “competes for growing space with the trees” are actually the other trees required by ODF to be planted too close together. Nine-foot spacing of planted trees is too close together, both impeding growth of the trees and creating fire hazard as they die back.
The bottom line is that long rotations produce 10-20 times the financial benefits of the 40-year rotations practiced and allowed by ODF. Long rotations ELIMINATE THE NEED for aerial spraying of poisonous herbicides whose impacts are far greater and more dangerous than claimed. ODF is in total violation of all of their core legal mandates, so I would not trust what they claim. Call Governor Kate Brown’s office: 503-378-4582, and demand a ban on aerial forestry herbicide spraying.