STONINGTON ROAD SIDE HERBICIDE SPRAYING

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STONINGTON  ROAD SIDE  HERBICIDE  SPRAYING

BACKGROUND

 

Control of roadside vegetation is essential to traffic safety by ensuring the visibility of the guiderail systems, signs and barriers. As well, it is important to maintain sightlines on curves and intersections, reduce fire hazards, maintain drainage systems, control invasive plants  and preclude the growth of woody vegetation. The Town employs an integrated approach to vegetation management utilizing manual, mechanical and chemical methods. 

HISTORICAL HERBICIDE USE

Historically, the Town of Stonington has used herbicides to manage weeds at the Pawcatuck Dike, along roads with guard rails and on all downtown curb lines on Town and State roads.  The State uses the same herbicides on all state roads and Amtrak does the same along their right of way.

Spraying of the guardrails and all downtown curb lines began in 2009 and continued until 2014.  This activity has been conducted by Town Department of Public Works [DPW] employees two or three times a year. It took approximately ten days to complete each application.  The total spraying took place over 20-30 days per year.  Glyphosate was the herbicide used in these applications. Since 2014, the Town DPW has significantly reduced spraying in the right of way focusing primarily on guard rails where the flail mower and other devices were difficult to deploy. Now the Town only sprays 2-3 days per year.

Spraying at the Pawcatuck Dike began in 2008 and takes place annually once a year. Glyphosate is the herbicide used.

2018 HERBICIDE USE

To complete spraying in the right of way in 2018, the Town hired TruGreen Rocky Hill, located at 89 Old Forge Road, Rocky Hill, CT.  The work was managed by Paul Muhlberg, a State of CT licensed Supervisory Applicator and Arborist with 37 years of experience with TruGreen.  Spot spraying was completed at guardrails and parts of the road right of way. 

Streets where spraying was completed include:  Flanders Road, Jerry Brown Road, Wheeler Road, Al Harvey Road, North Stonington Road, Stony Brook Road, Jeremy Hill Road, Taugwonk Road, Farmholme Road, Sommers Lane, Main Street, Old Mystic, Greenhaven Road, Burdick Lane, North Anguilla, South Anguilla and Stillman Avenue.  This work was conducted on May 17 and 18, 2018 for a total of one and one half days.  The herbicides that were applied are Aqua Neet and Garlon (also known as Triclopyr).  Both of these products are approved by the Connecticut State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection [DEEP] for use within the municipal right of way.    

To complete spraying at the Pawcatuck Dike in 2018, we will hire David Brown, of River Road, Pawcatuck, CT.  He has been doing this work since 2008.  This work is expected to be completed by the end of June 2018.

FLAIL MOWER

The DPW Flail Mower has been out of service due to unpredictable movement of the flail harness and failure of the piston pump.  Cost to complete the repair has been quoted at $10,213.40.  This piece of equipment dates to 2003 and is past its expected life. Repair costs over the past five years have totaled $24,994.29.  The condition of this equipment was reported to the Board of Finance [BOF] during the budget process.  However, due to funding constraints, the DPW was not approved for a new Flail Mower.    

In the past the Town DPW has used the Flail Mower from May through November three to four days a week to cut back roadside vegetation.  Therefore, loss of this equipment has significantly impacted our ability to mechanically manage the roadside vegetation.  On June 6, 2018, the DPW will be requesting approval from the BOF for a bid waiver in the amount of $10,213.40 to repair the Flail Mower. If approved, the DPW will begin its repair and redeployment.   

REPORTED BEE IMPACT

On May 23, 2018, a Stonington resident and Beekeeper notified the Town that they had experienced a bee kill as a result of the spraying completed in May 2018.  The Town passed the resident’s complaint to Jim Kenney, Compliance Specialist III of the Connecticut DEEP Pesticide Program.  Mr. Kenney noted that it was unlikely the products used would cause a bee kill.  However, he asked the Beekeeper to provide him a sample of a dead bee to be tested at State expense. He noted that the sample should be collected as soon as possible and frozen.  Beekeepers are required to register with the State and he offered to send a State Inspector to the impacted hive to check the health of the bees.  This information was provided to the local resident Beekeeper by the Town. There have been no other complaints pertaining to bees.