E-DEMOCRACY | Poison at Minnehaha Park


From: Charley Underwood Date: 4:22am, Jul 02

I was out foraging this afternoon, scouting out several of my favorite places to gather juneberries (a.k.a. serviceberries or saskatoon, etc.). One of those places is along the grassy strip between the parking lot and Minnehaha Falls.

To my dismay, I saw a series of signs warning parents to keep their children and pets away, that glyphosate (a.k.a. Roundup) had been applied.

So much for munching on juneberries. But why would anyone put a toxic spray exactly where children will cut across, on their way to the falls? Why would anyone put poisons in the park at all? And isn’t it a little self-defeating to plant beautiful bushes along the edge of the park, only to spray something nearby that can kill them?

From: Karlie Cole Date: 4:34am, Jul 02

I think we need community action around significantly reducing chemicals use throughout the city…homeowners, too. This stuff is killing bees and causing all manner of health issues.

If people can get the city to act on reducing wood smoke, surely we can reduce these poisons in our urban environments. There are more pesticides, herbicides, etc used in urban areas than in rural because homeowners are not as judicious in their use and use more than the farmers do (who try to keep expenses to a minimum). When homeowners use it – the cost seems inexpensive for their small areas and they often put on way too much. Each application also potentially effects many more people in the city.

This all runs off into our lakes, etc and is killing fish – see article http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MNPARKREC/bulletins/817f97#.Uc9n8RQoJhQ.facebook. Odd part is they know this causes mass fish die-off but then tell people its perfectly safe to swim in the lakes and even eat the fish.

Are we really that disconnected from consequences of actions?

Karlie Cole

From: Scott Vreeland Date: 1:41pm, Jul 02

The serviceberries on this strip of land by the parking lot are one of the best collection of edibles in our parks. As part of the urban agriculture policy that will be completed in the next few months, this would be the kind of place that should be identified as one that should exclude pesticide use.

It will also be important to review our Integrated Pest Management policy to reduce and eliminate pesticide use for additional areas. I will try to get some more detail about Minnehaha Park. We should revisit our IPM policy and look at our protocols, but I do think there are some instances like buckthorn removal where some pesticide use is warranted. Thanks, Scott Vreeland
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Commissioner District # 3
(612) 721-7892

From: Dave Garland Date: 3:02pm, Jul 02

On 7/1/2013 11:33 PM, Karlie Cole wrote: > I think we need community action around significantly reducing chemicals > use throughout the city…homeowners, too. This stuff is killing bees and > causing all manner of health issues.

Sure you’re not thinking about the neonicotinoid pesticides? My impression (and a quick google search) suggests that glyphosates don’t affect bees very much.

Not that I disagree about reducing chemical use. But not because this particular chemical is killing bees.

From: Karlie Cole Date: 3:26pm, Jul 02

Sorry if I was not clear enough in my statements. I was trying to make a point about the overall chemical over use in our urban environments.

Glyphosate health effects on humans is now being documented http://www.permaculturenews.org/files/entropy-15-01416.pdf as well.

From what I’ve been reading this morning, Glyphosate can stay in the soil up to 60 days. How long are we keeping children away from it at parks?

This whole issue needs more attention. We’ve worked hard for years now to eradicate lead since it causes damage to children’s brains. Now that Glyphosate is showing negative health effects – how long will it take to remove it from our soils, groundwater, air – our standard practices?

And that is just one of these gardening/agricultural chemicals!

The effects on human gut microbiota is just now being revealed as well. Sure a little bit of the stuff isn’t going to kill a human immediately (although sufficient exposure to Glyphosate will), but it will kill our life partners – the bacteria that actually does a lot of the work for our bodies.

We will be addressing this issue for some time to come. And we need to begin now.

Karlie Cole

From: Charley Underwood Date: 6:10pm, July 07

A quick update on the glyphosate poisoning around the serviceberry bushes at Minnehaha Falls.

First, a deep and heartfelt thanks to Scott Vreeland for his support of including edible plants among the landscaping at city parks and especially his pledge to determine why the area around this particular berry bush was treated with poison. I received a forwarded email response from another parks commissioner as well, but since it was a private email, I cannot name the other commissioner. But I am deeply thankful to both for looking into this problem.

Second, I want to broaden the question just a bit by bringing in another herbicide application at another city park. Several months ago, I was playing at the playground at the Hiawatha School Park near 42nd Avenue and 42nd Street. That park has two playgrounds, one mostly for older children and one for younger. My grandchildren are at an in-between age where they can enjoy both. As we were cutting across the baseball field between the two, I saw the same sort of herbicide application warning signs. I couldn’t believe it. It was not possible to read the signs from the side where we started, so I noticed them only when we were halfway across. As I looked over my shoulder, I could see that they were still spraying. I don’t remember what poison it was, or even if the signs were specific.

I understand that glyphosate is probably less harmful than some other toxins. But why are we spraying this stuff in public parks at all? Why are we applying this stuff when children are present, even if we put up signs indicating that children are not supposed to play there for several days?

Last, an upsetting story from yesterday. In the afternoon, I was continuing to collect serviceberries in one of my favorite locations (not in a Minneapolis park). A gentleman on a bike rode up and started munching berries near me and we talked a bit about other locations where serviceberries are planted on public land. When I told him not to pick at the Minnehaha Falls location because they had been sprayed, he became visibly upset and began asking me when the area had been sprayed. I didn’t know, but told him simply that the sign said not to walk with children or pets until July 3 (today). He kept asking me.

It turns out that he and his daughter had been picking berries there only last week. I didn’t know what to say. The only thing I could think of was to suggest he call his parks commissioner and see if he could get a date. I don’t know the man, never heard his name, don’t know who his commissioner is. But it was upsetting. I love kids and I really don’t like poisons, so it bothered me to hear the man’s story.

Why ARE we spraying our public parks with poisons?

From: Jack Ferman Date: 7:39pm

A long time ago, I had a plant book that had a chapter on natural pesticides and herbicides. What I recall understanding was that some plants emitted substances to protect their territory. An outstanding example is the buckthorn tree-shrub – its roots secretes a substance that kills or stunts any nearby plants. It is a matter of reserving a space. I think lilacs do something similar. Then there is the matter of companion plants – to have such things seems to require something at the root level. So why is MPR using chemical factory poisons at all; they should go natural.

Sent from my iPad
John Ferman
Kingfield Neighborhood
Minneapolis, MN
Email in header

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