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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
April 25, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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April 25, 2001

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IOA Wednesday, April 25, 2001 Environmental News m m By Victoria Metcalf Staff Writer Yellow starthistle (YST) is more than a nuisance, it's a hazard. The tall plant, noted for its small, bright yellow flowers and long thorns that catch and tear, is a danger to horses who eat it. It is also spells doom for any pastureland or field, once it sets root and starts to spread. The Plumas-Sierra County Agriculture Department has spent the last three years, and possibly longer, concentrating on ways to rid the two-county area of this noxious weed. Studying the problem, Agri- culture Commissioner Karl Bishop said there are two ways to fight YST. One is the use of special wee- vils raised in the state's agri- culture bug programs. These attack the plant at two levels, depending on which of the two weevils is introduced to a crop most effective ar/s er to the a fraction of the amount for of YST. area s problems, and'i what their use, Bishop explained. One, known as the seed headwill keep YST at bay before it This is all made possible by weevil, attacks the seed pro- spreads like it has in other state funding from SB1740. ducing portion of the plant, parts of the state. According to the labeling on The second, known as the In using Transline, BishopTransline, which is produced hairy weevil, attacks both the said that it is a pre-emergent by Dow AgroSciences, the seed producing area as well as as well as a post-emergentproduct is intended for selec- the entire plant, product. And it doesn't effect tire control of broadhaf weeds Bishop captured both kinds other plants. This-was demon- in non-cropland areas, indus- of weevils from the state nurs- strated last year as the depart- trial manufacturing and stor. cry in 1998 and tested them. ment began the first phase of a age sites, rights-of.way, and While effective on small areas, two-fold project, sprayingwildlife openings. It can also large use of the bugs seemscounty road edges, be used in grazed areas, tree prohibitive--not expense wise, When used, the YST was plantations and rangeland, and but in capturing the weevils in killed, but neighboring plants permanent grass pastures. the numbers needed to corn-such as wild sweat peas, Cali- Active ingredients are clopy- plete the job in the two-county fornia poppies, and other ralid;3,6-dichloro-2- area. plants, went unharmed, pyridinecarboxylic acid, Bishop has also used the This year the department monosthanoiamine salt at 40.9 state and federally approved has trained local landowners percent; inert ingredients 51.1 herbicide known as Transline. in its application, assigned the percent. Acid equivalent: Although expensive--at $300 a identification numbers, and 3,6-dichloro-2-pyridinecar- gallon and it only comes inwill sell small amounts ofboxylic acid--31 percent (3 two-and-a-half gallon sized con- Transline available to them. lb/gal). tainers--a small mount in wa. Then each landowner won't The label states that it may ter, covers a number of acres, have to purchase the full-sized be hazardous to humans and Bishop said TransUne is thecontainer when they need only domestic animals if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Therefore, those who apply the herbicide must wear long- sleeved shirts and long pants, waterproof gloves, and shoes and socks. Users are encour- aged to wash their hands be- fore eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco, or the toi- let. To avoid environmental haz- ards, users are recommended to not Contaminate water when disposing of equipment wash waters, or use the water for ir- rigation or domestic purposes. "Do not apply directly to wa- ter, or to areas where surface water is present or to inter tidal areas below the mean high water mark." "Clopyralid is a chemical which can travel--seep or leach--through soil and under certain conditions contami- nates groundwater which may be used for irrigation or drink- ing purposes. Users are ad- vised not to apply where soils have a very rapid throughout the as loamy sand to the water table of any ing aquifer is soils that would introduction into an As advised by the the der the guidance of ture department. In Taylorsville, already held grams to educate will be using then issued them tification number. cense, as required sprays, was not For more tact the Plumas-Sierra 6365. The Environmental tion Agency number 259. m m By Victoria Metcalf Staff Writer When environmental attor- ney Michael Jackson raised questions about Transline, an herbicide used to eradicate yellow starthistle (YST), he ad- mitted it was one chemical that had slipped by his notice. Although the Plumas-Sierra County Agriculture Commis- sioner Karl Bishop has plans to bring in a Transline manu- facturer to answer public con- cerns at the May 15 Board of Supervisors' meeting, Bishop has offered a little early infor. mation. In a fact sheet written by DowElanco, Transline is hailed as one of the most effec- tive treatments ever devised for improving forage produc- tion in pastures and maintain- ing rights-of-way. By Victoda M .aif Staff Writer Environmental attorney Michael Jackson, of Quincy, threatened to sue the Plumas County Board of Supervisors, if he finds an approved use of the herbicide Transline is harmful. Jackson raised his objec- tions during an agenda item, giving the Plumas County Agriculture Commissioner permission to begin the second phase of an herbicide spraying campaign against yellow starthistle (YST). .Su- pervisors approved the pro- gram last year, allowing the department to spray county road edges with the state ap- proved herbicide Transline. On the consent agenda was a request for approval to begin the second phase of that pro- gram, which is supplying pri- vate landowners with a suffi- cient amount of Transline to allow them to spray their own property to eliminate the inva- sive noxious weed. Agriculture Commissioner Karl Bishop was requesting ap- It was developed to attack proval for four, 10-hour days the .toughest broadleaf weeds, for his snra, ino crews a ~~, ;~rtd..~tR~jl~:~~~said ~t the par Fthe plant ....... : tim 8tfi /esti- The active ingredient in Transline, clopyralid, is ab- sorbed by the leaves and stems and then spreads throughout the entire plant, including the roots and keeps them from re- sprouting. And when applied at the right time of year--now--it stops plants before they can produce seeds. One of the ma- jor problems with YST is that the plant can disappear, such as with hand pulling, but seeds left behind can remain dormant in the soil until it is disturbed, and then the crop returns. According to the DowElanco company, a single application is enough. Additionally, Transline contains a non- volatile active ingredient that stays where it's applied. California was originally targeted for sales by DowElan- co. The company thought "the product's roadside and non- crop designation limited po- tential sales to where they wouldn't justify the extra reg- istration expense." That changed and in 1997, the product was approved in California. A weed specialist with U.C.-Davis began testing Transline on YST. This not on- ly got the company's attention, but the state's as well. When looking at the active ingredient, clopryalid, label- ing in California does specify some limitations about where it can be applied. But DowE- lanco points out the same ac- tive ingredient that appears in Transline is in a registered range and pasture approved product called Reclaim, used heavily in Texas and Okla- homa for mesquite coi trol. Stringer, another DowElan- co product has been approved federally for use on wheat and other field crops, and it too contains clopryalid. gate Transline and voice any concerns about the herbicide's use. Jackson said he thought many people would have objec- tions. County Counsel Rob Shul- man told Bishop that he wasn't providing enough information on the topic, and that he need- ed to supply complete backup material about the herbicide. Bishop said he had provided that information to the county administrative officer (CAO). He pointed out that the board approved the program last year, and this was a routine re- quest for the second phase. Bishop explained that Transline, the most effective herbicide used in the fight against YST, was originally ap- proved at the national level 40 years ago. California, after fur- ther testing, only approved the herbicide for use, three years ago. Bishop said the herbicide is expensive. It sells for $300 a gallon, and is used in small quantities--just a few ounces mixed with water will cover acres. Because of this, it is cost prohibitive for most private landowners to purchase a gal- lon, when all they need is a few ounces, a pint or a quart, to cover their land. That's why, in the second phase of the program, interest- ed landowners have been trained and given written per- Get your Soil amendments add nutrients and Improve SOil texture, aeration and drainage. We have compost, peat moss, steer manure, Amend and other Kellogg's produCts. NOW open Wed. - sun. 10 am - 5 pm qVur r "Tram my. back, yard ta aura/" KatlW Pricer 352 Pineleaf Drive Meadow Valley, CA 95956 (530) 283-2953 I I II lit AND NURSERY FARMS "Home of the 8odfa.ther" Local family farming smnce 1978 Premium quality blends most suitable for your area Call for our complete ."how to brochure or ca//us toll with any questions. TOLL FREE (800) 532-6200 EN0, NEVADA I I I I I II I I IIII m i mission to use the herbicide, which they obtain from the county ag department. All of the expenses for the project are covered by the state in funding generated through SB1740. As far as public comment was concerned, Bishop said he didn't know what else to do. He has helped promote the need to curb YST through features in the county newspapers over several years. And while he has heard comments that the stories were widely read, he said no one has voiced con- cerns about Transline's use. Bishop added that Plumas and Sierra counties are still fortunate in that YST hasn't spread to the extent it has reached in other counties in the state. Through applications of Transline, which eliminates only YST and doesn't harm other plants, residents are be- ing given the opportunity to help curb the problem before it starts destroying major sec- tions of land. (See sidebar on YST.) When some supervisors con- sidered tabling the item, Bish- op objected :' He said it'S important to spray now, or they have missed their window of oppor- tunity this year. If held up, Bishop said he would lose three weeks until the item could come up again before the board. Supervisor Robert Meacher, who was chairing the board in the absence of Don Clark, re- minded the board this is the second year of the project. He also said this is a state ap- proved product and has met with the state's stringent tests. Jackson said he would make the board a deal. He said he would not sue them this year, but he will next year if he learns that Transline is a harmful product. Bishop explained that, to date, county roads and Sierra counties are uing to be treated. National Forest has any spraying of cross through its land appropriate federal be conducted. Bishop said his has no intention roads that are the Tahoe National that is a Caltrans not a county concern. ! After the meeting, said he is placing the on the May 15 agenda. so tire from the produces Transline, Sciences, to answer you'll know inviteyou to come in and announcements [or your wedding. 285-0800 ] 257-5521