Carbondale adopts beetle battle plan
CARBONDALE ” Carbondale trustees agreed Tuesday to use the chemical insecticide Onyx on a handful of select trees the town has deemed worth saving from pine beetle kill.
The town board voted 3-1 in support of a joint recommendation from the citizen tree and environmental boards for an integrated pest management plan to control the infestation of mountain pine beetle in trees on public land in town.
The plan mainly involves treating with the synthetic pheromone verbenone lodgepole, scotch and ponderosa pines that have not been infested.
Packets of the substance are attached to a tree, giving a false signal to a beetle that the tree is already infested, causing them to move on. The town will also promote the use of verbenone by private property owners who want to save their trees, and may make the packets available at a reduced rate to residents.
At a cost of about $15 per packet, protecting 40 trees will cost the town about $600 per year.
The plan also involves limited use of the commercial insecticide Onyx on a handful of select trees located within public rights of way that have already been infested, but may still be saved.
Although pesticide use is against Carbondale’s general policy when it comes to insect and weed management, the majority of the board felt it was worth the risk in this case.
“I’m fine with the recommendation, especially when there is something of value to gain out of a little compromise,” Trustee Pam Zentmyer said. “Trees are pieces of town history, and I think preservation is as important as being environmentally sound.”
Trustee John Hoffmann voted against the recommendation, saying other options should be included in the management plan as well.
Of more concern to trustees and members of the citizen boards is to educate the general public about the options when it comes to protecting and treating trees located on private property.
“Spraying is taking place in Carbondale, by private landowners, homeowners associations and along the RFTA trail,” Tree Board Chairman Dan Bullock said. “We need to get a handle on what they are spraying.”
Trustee Frosty Merriott suggested coming up with a town-wide policy for weed and pest management that citizens can be asked to follow, although such guidelines may still be voluntary.
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