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Letter to the Editor: No herbicides in lake

by | Dec 11, 2019 | Letter to Editor

To the Editor:

Here we go again. I will start by pointing out that our town voted against herbicides in Lake Maspenock by a two-thirds majority at full town meeting spring 2015. Also it is important to note that the Weed Committee did not vote unanimously for herbicide use. And yes, it all hinges on being unable to do an effective drawdown this year due to one shallow well. The drawdown costs $0. I hope this issue will be worked on.

There seems to be two views of the situation. Those beating the drum for herbicides believe that the lake is like a swimming pool. They say put chemicals in and that they have a right to not have their boat props tangled in summer or catch their skate on a weed in winter. They also complain that the fishing isn’t like it was 40 years ago. You can go to HCAM YouTube to hear this (Weed Committee meeting Nov. 18).

The rest of us admit that the weed growth has recently been a nuisance. I am a daily distance swimmer in the upper basin in warm weather. And no, the weeds will not pull you down or kill your grandchildren as some claim. The lake is a delicate ecosystem with all life interconnected.

What might harm your grandchild is diquat. It has recently been banned by the European Union as well as many other countries. Even the EPA admits that more study is needed on mutagenic effects. It persists in lake sediment for many years. Diquat is implicated in cataract formation, skin rashes and fish kills. There are many other serious concerns that I will not address here. Your dog cannot drink from the lake for 12-14 days after it is applied. Endothal (the second proposed chemical) has a similar profile. The herbicides would cost our town $30,000 of your taxpayer money to apply. That is not once, but every other year ongoing. That money could be used for so many good things here in town. Let’s not poison our beautiful lake for the convenience of a short-sighted group.

— Carol Esler, Hopkinton

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