Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to District 5 Councilors Darcy DuMont and Shalini Bahl-Milne on April 29, 2021.
I am writing on a time sensitive matter. Massachusetts towns have until May 15 to stop aerial spraying on our communities for mosquito control. When I learned of this state-wide plan, I actually paused to check the date as I thought it must be a decades old plan. Haven’t we learned from the arbitrary use of DDT, banned almost 50 years old? Apparently not.
Under this program, planes would indiscriminately spray our homes, animals, wild-life, gardens, plants, vital insects and everything in their path. We have joyfully created a sanctuary for the birds, animals and insects to thrive in the diverse habitat of our yard and marvel to see how all the creatures live and enhance each other. Mosquitoes serve important functions in numerous ecosystems, serving as food for many species, helping filter detritus for plant life to thrive and pollinating flowers. The fundamental food of all adult mosquitoes is most often in the form of floral nectar. In the process of looking for nectar, mosquitoes pollinate many of the flowers they visit — this is one of the most commonly overlooked ecological functions of mosquitoes. Pollinators are responsible for one in every three bites of food we take.
Municipalities are allowed to decline the spraying service as long as they develop their own mosquito control program, which must be submitted to the state for approval to the Board of Health Chair Barbara Craddock by May 15. There are resources to help develop the alternative plan. See for example, this article dated 4/28/21 on how Wendell has declined and developed an alternative town plan including community education to remove water breeding areas, mounting bat houses, etc.
I also urge Amherst to decline any on-the-ground spraying in exchange for an alternative developed plan, for the same reasons. Please take immediate action as other attentive towns have done.
Brenda Davies is a resident of Amherst.
|Municipal Opt-Out of Mosquito Spraying|
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
In July 2020, Governor Baker signed into law legislation entitled An Act to Mitigate Arbovirus in the Commonwealth (M.G.L. Chapter 252, Section 2A), which requires the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to develop a process for the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board (SRMCB) to permit municipalities to opt out of mosquito control spraying, including aerial or other, conducted by the SRMCB.
Today, EEA is announcing the release of this opt-out process, which requires municipalities to secure approval to opt out via a certified vote by local the Select Board or City Council, and to submit an alternative mosquito management plan.
All Plans are subject to approval by EEA. Approval of a plan allows a municipality to opt out of spraying conducted by the SRMCB under M.G.L. Chapter 252, Section 2A through calendar year 2021. It does not extend to any spraying conducted by a mosquito control project or district of which a municipality may be a member.
Guidance and application information can be found at the following webpage, linked here.
The application including a certified vote and alternative management plan are due as email attachments to EEAoptfirstname.lastname@example.org by May 15, 2021. If you have any questions, please direct them to EEAoptemail@example.com.