By THE ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE CENTER
The Environmental Resource Center board and staff understand that some community members are concerned about the use of goats to control knapweed along the bike path. This is a discussion that is worthwhile to have, as the bike path is a community asset that nearly everyone who lives here enjoys and uses.
Thanks to Blaine County Recreation District and their willingness to try something new, we have a healthier bike path without chemicals that is safer for kids and the community. It’s a net positive to eliminate harmful chemicals from a place where so many kids and families and cyclists spend so much time.
Noxious weeds, like knapweed, are an ongoing management problem that landowners and land managers will be working on as long as they own or manage land. We need to use many tools to best address this persistent problem, as required by state law. Each tool has its particular limits, but having many tools available and using them for the unique benefits they each bring is going to be the best avenue to success.
A truly sustainable approach will not only bring many tools to bear on weed infestations, it will also prioritize community health. We need to address the weeds, and we need to do that without putting our most vulnerable citizens, kids, at risk.
We need to address the weeds, and we need to do that without putting our most vulnerable citizens, kids, at risk.
We support all healthy methods of weed control and would welcome community feedback as our Pesticide Action Team works on educating and advocating for safer weed control on the bike path and other places where kids play, such as community parks and backyards.
Moving forward, the ERC’s Pesticide Action Team will be working with its many partners on pesticide education, outreach and advocacy, making this effort a natural fit with our other programs, which address ways in which individuals and our entire community can reduce impacts to our environment.
The Wood River Insectary, a weevil nursery for bugs that eat knapweed roots, was built this summer as a collaborative effort with the Bureau of Land Management, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Blaine County Weed Management Office and the ERC. This is one of the new tools for non-toxic weed management that will be available to the entire community at no cost. Our updated Safer Weed and Pest Control booklet will be available on our website in early 2015 and serve as a comprehensive resource for alternative weed management for everyone from the backyard gardener to the professional landscaper. We love bugs, we love goats and the many other alternative methods of weed control currently available. The ERC will keep building the toolbox of non-chemical options to ensure our community employs the healthiest options available.
The ERC wants to support the BCRD as they move forward with native seeding on the bike path and other methods to continue their good work of safely managing weeds and making choices that protect the health of our community. Thank you to the BCRD.
Please contact Hadley DeBree at the ERC, firstname.lastname@example.org, with your ideas on this issue.
The Environmental Resource Center is a nonprofit organization based in Ketchum. It works on numerous environmental projects, including programs for recycling and weed control.