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County should follow its rules

I am the goat herder contracted by Douglas County to remove invasive buckthorn plants in Lucius Woods County Park and the owner of the goats the Telegram used for its front-page picture and article Aug. 1.

When I learned late last spring the County Forestry Committee was planning to use pesticides in Lucius Woods County Park for a cost comparison to the goat project, I wrote a letter to the County Board, the Douglas County corporate counsel and the Douglas County administrative office. It has been 10 weeks, and I have yet to hear a response from anyone.

My letter voiced my concerns about whether the County Forestry Committee was following its own pesticide ordinance and questioned the legality of the Douglas County Forestry Committee's decision to bypass the ordinance criteria. The ordinance bans the general use of pesticides on County land and the granting of an exception is only allowed when there is an urgent need and when it can be shown that all other options have proven to be inadequate.

My goats were already proving to be very effective at removing the invasive plants with no risk to people or the environment.

At the June County Board meeting a supervisor asked for my letter to be read aloud. He was denied by Chairman Mark Liebaert, after a brief conversation he had with the County Clerk. The board member told me later that he had never seen a request denied. My letter was critical of the Forestry Committee of which Liebaert is chairman. I wonder if this why he did not want my letter to be read.

At March's Forestry Committee meeting, I was told the new project was using a pesticide called Garlon. When reviewing the project application prepared by UW-Extension agent, Jane Anklam. I found it also includes glyphosate in its list of ingredients. This pesticide has been declared to be a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. I was also amazed there was to be no inquiry into the environmental or social impacts of its use.

The Telegram article stated that the goat project has been paid $6500 "to date." What the article did not make clear was that was for four applications in 2½ years. That's an average of $1,625 per application for almost 1.5 acres. The $2,500 spent on toxic pesticides was for one application, including manufacturer-donated pesticides and donated time by UW-Madison students.

I believe that the Douglas County pesticide ordinance should be followed and that we should not be using pesticides like glyphosate and Garlon.