The U.S. Forest Service is moving ahead with plans this summer to spray herbicides in areas that are recovering from fires near Groveland.
District Ranger John Swanson says young trees are competing with brush that has to be removed, and other methods won´t work in certain places. He says mechanical clearing won´t work in some very steep areas, and prescribed burning would destroy the young trees. Swanson says that leaves officials with herbicides as their only choice on about 3,700 acres near Groveland.
There is opposition to the spraying. Evironmental activists say the chemicals are harmful and not needed. Patty Clary with Eureka based “Californians for Alternatives to Toxics,” the leading opposition group to using herbicides in national forest land, says the chemicals threaten the health of the workers who are spraying. She also says removing the brush isn´t necessary because the brush provides a better long-term environment for the trees to grow.
The Forest Service insists that the spraying is safe.