The recent Jake Siggs pro-herbicide letter to the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors has raised several concerns on the part of the North Coast Chapter. We believe that correspondence of the kind that went out to theDel Norte County Board of Supervisors should have had peer review by both the State organization and the North Coast Chapter. The use of herbicides is an extremely sensitive issue on the north coast and awareness of that sensitivity is very important in maintaining the support and respect CNPS enjoys in our community. In the future, we would appreciate the opportunity to comment on documents from CNPS before they are sent to entities within our Chapters jurisdiction. This is essential if we are to maintain the supportive relationship we share with the local environmental community.
We would also like clarification of state policy regarding statements by executive chairs on policy issues, when no policy is in place. CNPS does not have a policy on the use of herbicides for controlling invasive exotic plant species. Until one is developed we would recommend that CNPS discourage the presentation of personal opinions of herbicide use on CNPS letterhead or other documents. Rather, we should stress wise use and portray herbicides as a tool to be used with great care under a formal integrated pest management program and avoid alienating those who haveconcerns regarding their effects on living systems.
Lastly, it is important to state that our Chapter has a great deal of respect for Jake Sigg. Jake has done a tremendous job representing CNPS over the years. He has lead the Societys fight against invasive exotics and he has lead it well. We dont want to alienate him. Our main concern is that a strong pro-herbicide position will alienate many Society members. If we are going to educate our members and the public regarding the need to eradicate invasive exotic plants, we must do it by fostering the respect Jake has helped us earn over the years through a reliance on fact and scientific inquiry that are the foundation of wise use.