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Rockland pesticide law eyed for future vote

By Stephen Betts | Mar 09, 2020
Photo by: Lynette L. Walther A group of local citizens are developing a Rockland ordinance that it wants the City Council to approve this spring.

Rockland — A group of residents have developed a proposal they hope Rockland will embrace to reduce the use of pesticides.

"The intention for compliance with this proposed code ordinance is to promote and reinforce good practices through education rather than through punishment," stated a news release from the organizers.

A community forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, at the lower level community room at the Rockland Public Library.

The wording of the proposed ordinance is still being tweaked. City Councilor Ed Glaser plans to unveil the ordinance at the end of April and the City Council will discuss the matter for the first time at its May 4 agenda setting meeting and then a preliminary vote would be May 11.

A group consisting of Connie Hayes, Susan Beebe, Annette Nagel and Gail Presley have been working on the proposal. Councilor Glaser has been the group's liaison with the City Council.

Glaser pointed out that the goal is for the ordinance to take effect January 2021.

The group said this would give Rockland citizens "a full growing season to explore and learn about the many options to comply with the proposed expanded code ordinance."

The ordinance would allow waivers and appeals.

"We want to make it an easy transition," Hayes said. "If people can get a different attitude of what is a beautiful lawn, that will be important."

"One of Rockland's symbols is a beehive indicating industriousness. What might have been common lawn and and garden practices and thought of as beautiful and tidy in the past may need adjustment for the health of pollinators, animals, bodies of water and humans. What may be seen as a weed to a human may be essential nourishment for a beneficial insect," according to a statement from the group.

She said pesticides used in Rockland eventually flow into Rockland Harbor and that environmental impact should be a concern.

"It is in our benefit to limit harmful products from entering the waters that provide food and a livelihood for many of our citizens," they stated.

A pest management advisory committee is planned to provide guidance, resources and assistance to help the transition for people as easy as possible. The committee plans to offer workshops, speakers, information flyers and outreach of all kinds for the public.

The group is encouraging the public to attend the March 31 meeting.

Hayes said the group wants to develop a map of Rockland showing every parcel in the city and anyone who foregoes pesticides will have their area colored in green on the map. The map will be displayed throughout the community.

The group said the city may hold a pesticide collection day at the solid waste facility for people to get rid of their unused pesticides.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Avis Turner | Mar 09, 2020 20:26

Thank you. Wonderful work happening. We all need to do better and learn more. Article says: "promote & reinforce good practices through education, rather than through punishment". So I don't think anyone should worry. It seems like a positive community thing.  We live in such a beautiful place. Moving towards natural/native plantings, which are friendlier to birds & pollinators, creates more bio diversity ~ Letting nature take care of herself, sometimes is also less labor for humans.    I would love to learn more on native plants and how to  use  flowering multi-season plants that last for years.  Also- is it true,... salt & vinegar water on dandelions !?  :)    Thank you

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Mar 09, 2020 17:46

And who is going to pay for someone to police all of the taxpayers in Rockland with land?  What about those who rent out their houses?  What are we in, Kindergarden?   Yeah, if I don't  use pesticides, my land will be green.  Oh my goodness, Lord help me.

I understand the dangers of using pesticides but please do not cram it down my throat and TELL me what I can and cannot use on my lawn or gardens!!

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