Ground Truth: Victories

FSEEE Protest Prompts Forest Service to Retract Herbicide Plan

When officials at Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming proposed aerial spraying to kill native larkspur and sagebrush under the guise of controlling invasive weeds, FSEEE called foul.

Larkspur can sometimes be toxic to cattle, and cattle won’t eat sagebrush. Given the cozy history between Bighorn National Forest officials and local livestock interests, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the Bighorn National Forest officials were doing the bidding of the livestock industry at the expense of the Bighorn Mountain ecosystem.

FSEEE filed a formal objection pointing to research showing that larkspur is not always poisonous to cattle and that its toxicity in the Bighorn Mountains is “unknown.”

To eradicate sagebrush, Forest Service officials had proposed spraying the toxic herbicide tebuthiuron from aircraft. FSEEE pointed out that the herbicide is already present in local residents’ water wells. Spraying more would compound drinking-water contamination in the region.

We’re happy to report that the Forest Service did an about-face on both proposals.

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