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County sprays hard-to-reach areas

In April 2002, Island County passed a resolution stating the county won’t use herbicides to maintain roadsides.

More than two years after the resolution was approved, county employees still spray in some areas along county roads.

“We’re spraying in some hard-to-get areas,” said Public Works Director Bill Oakes. He said the county will “spot spray” such areas as guard rails and cracks in the roadway when other means haven’t proved successful.

He said the county is not doing systematic roadside spraying as in the past.

“We are trying to use weed-eater type machines but we can’t keep up with the good growing season,” Oakes said. He said spraying is used as a last resort.

He added the county notifies anyone on the chemically sensitive list who lives near where spraying may occur.

For one person who is on the list, the spot spraying is bad news.

“The county is spraying roads, the state is spraying roads and I’m in my house. And I don’t like it,” said Clinton resident Theresa Ghandi.

Oakes said ensuring vegetation is controlled around guard rails and in pavement cracks makes the roads safer.

He said employees are also to looking for alternative ways to control vegetation around guardrails and cracks.

Mark Wahl, director of Whidbey/Camano No Spray, said the group is talking with the county about alternatives, such as putting in different plants.

“We are watching them closely and are in communication with the county,” Wahl said. He added that he would like to see more clarification on the definition of “last resort.”

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