On August 17, 2022

Lake Bomoseen holds herbicide permit through the end of the year

By Katy Savage

Lake Bomoseen Association’s application to use herbicides on the lake is on hold in the wake of public outcry, and it will likely remain on hold until the end of the year.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) placed a technical hold on Lake Bomoseen Association’s (LBA) application to treat the lake with ProcellaCOR, an herbicide used to treat milfoil, in early June at the association’s request.

“We’re just giving the directors more time to sift through responses from the community,” interim LBA president Sam Drazin said. “It just means that it is sitting at the DEC. It’s not being reviewed and it’s not being pulled out at this time.”

The Lake Bomoseen Association held its annual meeting on Sunday, Aug. 14. Drazin said some at the meeting wanted a more definitive answer from the board about the future use of pesticides.

“It’s very hard to move forward in any direction if conversations are done in disrespectful or targeting ways,” Drazin said.

Drazin said the volunteer board is determining how to continue soliciting feedback from the community and will circle back with the state in December of January about the permit.

“We’re trying to figure out how to create fair and respectful opportunities for conversation, which I think has been one of the hardest pieces of this,” Drazin said.

Unlike other chemicals that are sprayed in the air, ProcellaCOR is injected below the surface of the water from the back of a boat. ProcellaCOR has been used in the state for the past three years and is now used on about 13 different lakes.

Oliver Pierson, the program manager of the lakes and ponds program at the DEC, said the Lake Bomoseen permit, submitted to the state in February, is the largest the DEC has received so far. It calls for treating about 200 acres of the lake per year over three years.

Limited data on the use of ProcellaCor shows it’s effective at targeting milfoil, but anecdotal evidence suggests it’s harmful to fish. The Castleton, Hubbardton and Fair Haven Select Boards all voted to oppose the permit. Pierson said he’s also received extensive feedback from the community about ProcellaCor. Though the state has never rejected a ProcellaCor permit, Pierson said the DEC would take community concerns into consideration.

The state has agreed to hold the application through the end of the calendar year.

“Hopefully, they’ll get back to us before that,” Pierson said, optimistically.

Meanwhile, Drazin is trying to bring the community together.

“Unfortunately it’s taken a life of its own and it’s taken a life of its own in not a very kind way,” Drazin said. “People always have differing opinions but how you express those opinions is going to create opportunities to work together or the opposite.”

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