Report concludes no DOH herbicide violation
Marlinton, W.Va. – Following an investigation into herbicide use along Route 84 and Knapps Creek, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture issued a report of no violation – but the government report on what chemicals were used has changed – and questions remain on how the agency came to its conclusion.
The Pocahontas County Division of Highways reported in September that three herbicides were sprayed along Route 84: Garlon, Krenite and Steamline. In a report issued November 26, Department of Agriculture regulatory supervisor Terry Lauchert issued a report on November 26 that only two products – Garlon and Escort XP – were used. Lauchert’s report states that department inspector Abraham Jordan conducted an investigation and found no violations.
Instructions for both Garlon and Escort XP warn against application “directly to water or to areas where surface water is present.” The product sheet for Garlon specifically states the chemical is toxic to fish. If products are mixed, the most stringent instructions are to be followed. Photographs taken in September show herbicide-affected vegetation directly adjacent to Knapps Creek – a trout-reproducing stream. The photographs are posted at alleghenymountainradio.org.
AMR News has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to determine the Department of Agriculture’s definition of, “directly to water, or to areas where surface water is present.”
Trout streams, including Knapps Creek, are popular tourist destinations in Pocahontas County. The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources recently completed a $5 million project to restore trout habitat in Shavers Fork in Pocahontas County. The Charleston Gazette reported that DNR officials are considering expanding that stream restoration project. The Gazette quotes senior DNR planner Steve Brown as saying:
“We think it could be done for about $15 million. That’s a lot of money, but not an unreasonable number when you consider the potential benefits to anglers and tourism.”