Letter: What’s up with the “No Spray” signs?

by beth on June 2, 2020

Post image for Letter: What’s up with the “No Spray” signs?

[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to mysouthborough@gmail.com.

The following letter and the above contributed photo are from The Southborough Stewardship Committee and the Southborough Open Land Foundation ( SOLF).]

To the Editor:

You may be wondering about the “No Spray” signs going up in neighbors’ yards, as well as in open space properties around town, including Beals Preserve, Breakneck Hill, and the Town Forest.

Southborough is a member of the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project (CMMCP), the agency that conducts nuisance mosquito spraying at the request of residents. Because the pesticide is toxic to insects and aquatic wildlife and is released from truck-mounted sprayers onto an unknown number of properties in addition to those of the people making the request, some residents and local conservation organizations have chosen to register their properties to be excluded from nuisance mosquito spraying (note that an exclusion does not exempt properties from spraying conducted during a health emergency, like the 2019 EEE scare). The registered properties are then required to post “No Spray” signs to help alert the applicator trucks.

Joyce Greenleaf, chair of the Southborough Stewardship Committee said “part of the role of the Stewards is to provide conservation-based management of Breakneck Hill Conservation Land and the Town Forest. At the recommendation of the Stewards, the Conservation Commission voted in 2019 to register the lands under its care and control for an exclusion from nuisance mosquito spraying. We are fortunate that Breakneck Hill is home to some at risk bird and bumblebee species, and we are trying to slow their decline by providing safe habitat on the conservation land.”

Other residents take a slightly different perspective. Jenny Peet, mother of elementary and preschool aged children, and active member of the Facebook group, Native Plant Gardens of Southborough, waxed poetic about the joys of organic vegetable gardening. “We have a small vegetable garden, and I can tell you that, when it is tomato season, not many of them make it to the house because my kids love eating them straight off the vines! We are concerned about human health risks from the spraying. We have chosen to register our property to be excluded from pesticide spraying, partially because we don’t want to worry about bringing our produce in to wash it before the kids get ahold of it. Additionally, after I started participating in some of the bumblebee research at Breakneck Hill, we have become avid gardeners utilizing plants native to New England. We have seen such an increase in wildlife in our yard and don’t want to jeopardize the critters by exposing them to pesticides.” 

Southborough Open Land Foundation (SOLF), Southborough’s local land trust, opposes spraying for nuisance control of mosquitoes. SOLF believes that localized spraying is ineffective, as it has no lasting effect. It also harms and kills important creatures, including bees, butterflies and fish. It disrupts natural flora in wetland habitats, and taints water quality. In addition, it may present health risks to humans, particularly sensitive individuals. SOLF believes that there are more effective ways to protect people from mosquitoes, such as removing all stagnant water from properties, applying bug spray and covering bare skin.

SOLF has chosen to exclude all of its properties from spraying. Many SOLF members have excluded their own properties from spraying. We encourage all residents to do the same. We are giving away one free ‘No Spray’ sign to Southborough residents.

To request an exclusion from wide-area spraying, visit

https://www.cmmcp.org/pesticide-information/pages/pesticide-exclusion

Working together we can provide for a healthier environment for our children and nature while decreasing exposure to mosquitoes that cause disease.

The Southborough Stewardship Committee and the Southborough Open Land Foundation ( SOLF)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eastern Equine Encephalitis June 2, 2020 at 8:33 PM

Please DO NOT spray!!!

We prefer to contract EEE so that we may be impaired for the rest of our lives, provided we survive.

WAKE UP people!!!

Reply

2 Will June 3, 2020 at 10:44 AM

If you actually read the letter fully, you’d understand that spraying for EEE is not covered by this exclusion/opting out, as it’s deemed a health emergency. Also, the article states that it’s you opting out of the spraying that occurs from the trucks, not the aerial spraying, which was done for EEE.

Make sure you read the whole story next time before jumping to conclusions.

Reply

3 beth June 3, 2020 at 11:24 AM

Also worth noting that SOLF’s position is that it: “opposes spraying for nuisance control of mosquitoes. SOLF believes that localized spraying is ineffective, as it has no lasting effect.”

Reply

4 Will June 10, 2020 at 1:49 PM

Beth,

You noted SOLF is giving away one free no spray sign per household as part of their letter, but was wondering exactly how one would go about getting said sign? If you happen to have a link or can direct me in the right direction, that’d be appreciated.

Reply

5 Amy Kassatly June 10, 2020 at 10:26 PM

Hi Will,
Please send an email to amy_kassatly@hotmail.com to arrange to get a sign.
Thanks,
Amy

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